With news of layoffs and rescinded job offers
everywhere, few envy the job market May's graduating class will be stepping
Bad job market omens are everywhere: Advanced Micro Devices announced April
7 that it was slashing
10 percent of its work force, Dell is in the process of laying off at least
8,500 employees and the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the
unemployment rate rose from 4.8 to 5.1 percent in March.
On April 5, news leaked that JP Morgan Chase & Co. had rescinded nearly
half of the job and internship offers Bear Stearns had made earlier in 2008, as
part of JP Morgan Chase's plans to acquire the foundering Wall Street
investment firm. But while it is little surprise that buyouts
lead to layoffs-especially in overlapping business areas, as where JP
Morgan Chase has chosen not to honor offers-that is little consolation for students
graduating from college this May and trying to find a job in a tumultuous
According to some career experts, students graduating that don't already
have a job lined up might be in trouble, partly because they'll be getting a
"The job market is completely cyclical. If you want a job for June or
July, you should start in March or April at the latest. But you'll increase
your chances if you started making contacts over your winter break," Rich
Milgram, CEO of Beyond.com, a recruiting Web
site, told eWEEK.
Other difficulties in landing a job after graduation could stem from
generational or motivational issues.
"The really motivated people won't have problems, but the challenge in
the millennial generation is that there are a lot out there that didn't spend
time on internships, didn't get work experience before graduation or are more
lackluster in their desire to work. They're going to have a lot of trouble
entering the work force," Milgram said.
Worsening students' chances is an economy teetering on the brink of a
recession-something that may affect wallets as well as job opportunities.
"I would expect to see the same salaries as those who graduated last
year; they will not have been adjusted for inflation," Milgram said.
Career blogger Penelope Trunk takes a different view of the economic
slowdown, arguing that a recession is not likely to affect the job market
because of a marketwide shortage of people to fill retiring workers' shoes.
"The health of today's job market is not so much a function of economic
indicators as it is a function of demographic trends. There is a huge shortage
of employees. Baby Boomers are retiring and Generation X and Y are less able to
replace the Baby Boomers than had been anticipated," Trunk
Unless the recession is particularly prolonged or damaging, Trunk said, it
is not likely to change this bright outlook. Nevertheless, even a relatively
stable job market can only take a graduate so far.
"No matter how old you are, you have to be able
to build a network. At the college level, this may be getting to know your
parents' friends in industries that interest you, or that you can learn from.
You may have a good network of friends at college, but they're as inexperienced
as you are. Work on your professional network now," Milgram said.