College grads are entering an improving, yet competitive job market, according to a new report that should be encouraging news for newly minted adults, as well as their increasingly worried parents and grandparents.
Worry over the financial situation of children and grandchildren is the top personal financial concern of high net worth investors, according to Millionaire Corner research. The issue outranks all others and has extended to 66 percent of high net worth investors surveyed in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 57 percent for the same period last year. (Millionaire Corner defines a high net worth investor as having $5 million to $25 million of investable assets.)
These parents and grandparents will be happy to hear that this year’s graduating class of 1.7 million is expected to benefit from a slowly improving economy, as companies begin to replace millions of workers cut during the recession, according to an annual report from the consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The fields expected to see the most growth over the next decade are accounting and finance, engineering, computer science, sales and marketing, education, and health care and social services.
“The private sector has seen positive employment gains for 25 consecutive months,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of the firm. “The job market still has a long way to go before full recovery, but the good news is that young job seekers with four-year degrees are in growing demand.”
In the past two years, workers ages 55 and older have seen the biggest job gains, an increase of more than 2.8 million, said the Challenger report. The next biggest increase was jobs held be workers ages 20 to 24, a gain of 939,000.
“Companies want experienced people who can hit the ground running with little or no training, hence the impressive gains among older job seekers,” said Challenger. “However, employers are also thinking about the future, the need to replace an aging workforce that will not continue to work forever.”
The job outlook for college grads continues to improve, but the picture is far from perfect. The rate of improvement is showing signs of slowing and hiring remains far below pre-recession levels. According to Challenger, “Most graduates will find the job search fiercely competitive, as they vie for positions against their fellow classmates but also against graduates from the previous two years.”
College grads likely to have the most success are those with the flexibility to relocate and pursue opportunities outside a chosen field, said the Challenger report. “Regardless of where one searches for employment, the competitive nature of the job market requires an aggressive approach to the job search,” said Challenger.
One of the most important elements of a successful job search is networking and meeting face-to-face with people, said Challenger, adding, “Parents, professors, former internship supervisors and even college and former high school classmates can be valuable sources when it comes to building and expanding one’s network.”
Okay, college grads, put away the books and start networking!