Monday, February 9, 2009

Class of 2009 Woes: Applying For Jobs During an Economic Slump

Courtesy of WISER -

The class of 2009 is nearly halfway finished with their last year at college and seniors everywhere are beginning to consider their plans for the future (if not battling the debilitating condition that is senioritis). Some students have already begun their job searches with unadulterated excitement; others have tried to force the idea of real jobs and real responsibilities out of their minds. Whether you are one of the ambitious or one of the fearful, one thing is for certain: job prospects are not as favorable as they used to be.

According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 1.3% more graduates next year than in 2008. Two months ago, the same survey projected a 6.1% increase in hiring. According to Cari Tuna of the Wall Street Journal, this sharp decrease in projections is “in response to the slowing economy and financial-sector turmoil.” With such financial firms as Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. in bankruptcy protection, beefing up employment will most likely take a back seat to more pressing concerns.

A sharp diminishment in employee hiring is not the only obstacle facing the class of 2009. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1, 585,000 students will receive bachelor’s degrees this year, up 41,000 from 2008, inevitably raising the stakes in terms of job competition. Salary projections also appear dismal, as career counselors predict that salaries for entry-level positions will either “hold level or decline” in 2009.

All of these inauspicious projections for the class of 2009 are further complicated by the characteristics of what Ron Alsop, author of “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millenial Generation is Shaking up the Workplace,” refers to as the “millennial generation.” According to Alsop, those born between 1980 and 2001 “were coddled by their parents and nurtured with a strong sense of entitlement.” Many employers worry that this generation’s outlook will lead to “high-maintenance rookies” in the workplace.

According to a survey by, more than 85% of hiring managers and human-resource executives believe that “millenials have a stronger sense of entitlement than older workers.” While these postulations may seem offensive to an individual in the millennial demographic, experts generally agree that these characteristics were bred by doting parents. Natalie Griffith, manager of human-resource programs at Eaton Corporation, says “It’s not necessarily arrogance; it’s simply their mindset.”

If you are one of the “millenials” of the class of 2009, don’t become too discouraged by these generational perceptions. After all, according to Alsop, “the grumbling baby-boomer managers are the same indulgent parents who produced the millennial generation.” In respect to the economic slump and decreased career prospects, there is some good news: while finance, retail, construction and manufacturing fields are experiencing lower rates of hiring, other areas such as public service, health care, education, technology and accounting have maintained their demand for new employees.

No comments: