“What?” you're thinking “This is crazy! I have four years of college before I even have to think about a job.” False. As you'll soon discover, college flies by and before you know it you're a Junior desperately seeking internships; or a Senior in the midst of the pre-graduation job hunt. Given no advance thought, a large part of what you study will probably align with your current personal interests, influences, and location in life. However, a little up-front research might leave you surprised at what you decide to study. Start by thinking about what you would like to do in the future for employment and whether there are any demands for your chosen occupation.
Getting a job after college is still a pretty tough job for the recently graduated. Nearly one in five adults aged 18-29 years is currently unemployed. A portion of that unemployment is due to ongoing economic factors that college graduates, as individuals, have very little power to change. But some of the problem is that they're unprepared to fill the jobs that are available in the market. With a little foresight and planning, you'll be ready to graduate with a diploma in one hand and a job offer in the other.
It helps to know which college graduates have the worst employment prospects at the moment. Turns out, the least employable graduates right now are…architects! According to a recent study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, architecture majors have found themselves at the top of the ranks of unemployed recent college graduates - 13.9% have been unable to obtain work. The next four are:
- fine arts majors,
- liberal arts majors,
- social studies majors, and
- recreation majors.
As if your future employability isn’t enough to worry about, you also need to consider how much money your chosen career will earn. A recently published article in Forbes, quoting the latest report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), reveals that the big money is going to the college graduates who have good quantitative skills (i.e., statistics) and are educated in engineering or computer sciences. Here are the NACE’s most current list of top paying jobs for newly minted college graduates:
College Major Annual Salary
Computer Engineering $70,400
Chemical Engineering $66,400
Computer Science $64,400
Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering $64,000
Mechanical Engineering $62,900
Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering $62,300
Civil Engineering $57,600
Construction Science/Management $56,600
Information Sciences and Systems $56,100
So, don’t forget to think about what you want to do post-graduation as you pack your toothbrush and dream about your dorm room. I wish someone had shared this with me when I first started college!