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Why recent graduates may fare worse

When Cache Roberts graduated from the University of Miami in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in media, culture, and professional writing in English, she never expected to be without a full-time position 16 months later. She’s since applied for dozens of content creation jobs and tried freelancing in hopes of landing something more permanent.

“I apply for roles quite often, like every day. But I always manage to write reviews or third interviews and I get nothing in return. It’s really disheartening,” said Roberts, 23. “…It’s just hard to land something full-time with benefits and a salary.

Roberts, like many other recent college graduates, struggled to get hired. While job gains across the country remain strong — more than 500,000 jobs were added in July — the numbers for recent graduates tell a different story. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, unemployment rates for recent graduates are higher than the national average for all workers. In June of this year, the unemployment rate for this demographic was 4.1%, compared to 3.5% for all workers in the United States.

Cache Roberts, 23, is a content creator currently seeking employment.Loreal Diane / Photos by Loreal Diane

While a 0.6% spread may seem small on paper, it’s quite significant, say experts including gender economist and Pipeline Equity CEO Katica Roy. “Closing that 0.6 is important, especially to keep inflation and economic growth under control. We all benefit from more people in the labor market, especially now that there are two job vacancies for each person.

The data also showed that in recent months, while the national average unemployment rate has improved, that of recent college graduates has worsened. This trend predates the pandemic. Since 2018, unemployment rates among young university graduates have been higher than in the general population.

This can happen for several reasons. “As in 2018, the labor market is tight and recent college graduates are competing with all workers, rather than benefiting from credential requirements imposed by employers,” said Joelle Gamble, chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. Work. “There is evidence that employers have relaxed or eliminated educational requirements in order to attract workers. The labor force participation of recent university graduates could increase as more of them look for work now that they are out of school. While this doesn’t explain the 2018 trend, it could explain the rise in the unemployment rate for recent graduates in June and the slight drop in July, according to data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Recent graduates who are also women of color may fare even worse when it comes to finding employment. Women have already lost more jobs during the pandemic, and job recovery has also been slower, said Sarah Jane Glynn, senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. “While young people today experience less gender-based occupational segregation compared to previous generations, there are still strong gender differences in the types of jobs workers find themselves in, and gender-based occupational segregation on race has not measurably diminished.”

The International Labor Organization released data in early August showing that young women are worse off than young men when it comes to finding jobs. Studies also show that young women entering the workforce do not earn the same as their male counterparts starting out, making it harder for them to catch up. The current gender pay gap also confirms that pay equity is still a distant reality. In 2022, Asian women earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by a non-Hispanic white man. For black women, it’s 58 cents, with Latinas getting just 49 cents.

Roy said there were bigger gender equity issues at play when it came to getting jobs for young women. “If you just look at recent college graduates, women make up 67% of all student loan holders, so not only do women have less money coming into our wallets, we have more money coming out of them. ” This is an issue that affects all American taxpayers, Roy explained. “Women who don’t earn a fair wage are more likely to benefit from welfare programs, which means taxpayers are essentially subsidizing that wage gap.” She also said that “the United States could actually cut the Social Security savings gap by a third if we close the gender pay gap.”

Kateryn Ferreira, who earned her master’s degree in public health in 2020, is also unemployed, despite eight years of education and experience under her belt. Ferreira, 27, noted that she had been interviewed for hundreds of jobs. “Everyone is like, ‘Oh yeah, your resume is awesome. We’re impressed with your education and experience. And in my head, I’m like, ‘why aren’t they calling back?’ “While Ferreira keeps finding full-time employment, she’s also expanding her job prospects into areas she hadn’t considered before, such as marketing. She’s also been using this time for personal projects. , including a podcast she started that focuses on personal development and mental well-being.

Kateryn Ferreira, who earned her Masters in Public Health in 2020, is also struggling to find full-time employment.
Kateryn Ferreira, who earned her Masters in Public Health in 2020, is also struggling to find full-time employment.Chris Disla

Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid, an organization that champions the professional and financial advancement of women, advised young graduates who are struggling to find jobs to start their own stampede, just like Ferreira did. “Not only will you continue to learn and stay motivated, but you’ll also have more to say on your resume. Being independent will allow you to stand out.

Alexandra Carter, a negotiation expert and professor at Columbia Law School, recommended taking online courses in your area of ​​expertise and connecting to as many networks as possible, “from your university, your hometown, your religious or ethnic background – even groups centered around a hobby you love.You never know where you might meet someone who might open that door for you.

To stand out in a crowded job market in the application process, Wasserman advised incorporating keywords from the job description and company website into your resume, cover letter, and other materials. of candidacy. Don’t forget to mention your past wins at work, she added. “Being able to showcase your growth is also essential. Give concrete examples of how you learned quickly, this will give them confidence that you will learn just as quickly on the job.

Julia Haber, founder of Home From College, a platform that helps connect students to job opportunities, said it’s important to get creative when you’re lacking experience on your resume. “Use alternative channels to show your worth,” she recommended. “This could include creating an analytical TikTok about the company and showing the touchpoints you admire about the brand or even coming up with a mini-project with some brand recommendations.”

Labor experts have pointed out that it’s important to realize that even if you’ve had difficulty finding a full-time job, it doesn’t diminish your value.

“Equally important is how you tell your story and frame your own strengths,” Carter said.

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