Editorial: Flip the tassel and find a job

Flip the tassel, and prepare for adulthood.

It’s that time of year, when bright minds across the commonwealth leave the womb of higher education for the job market. Last weekend, Randolph-Macon College sent 255 of its own bright young minds out into the world with the message to “live, really live.”

We hope they will listen to this sage advice from none other than Katie Couric.

It’s important to enjoy life at a young age, something often overlooked in today’s fast-paced society, warranting the idiom “youth is wasted on the young.”

Now that the tinsel has fallen, the family photos snapped, and the caps thrown in the air, reality’s likely set in for most of our recent graduates.

You need to get a job.

According to data released by the federal bureau for labor statistics in April, the unemployment rate for 20- to 29-year-olds who had graduated from college in 2011 was 12.6 percent.

The rate was 13.5 percent for those who had earned bachelor’s degrees and 8.6 percent for those awarded advanced degrees. Though these rates showed improvement from a 2009 peak, the numbers still surpassed pre-recession statistics and were basically unchanged from the same statistics in 2010.

If you’re female, you’re in luck. Men who earned bachelor’s degrees two years ago had an unemployment rate of 16.1 percent , five points higher than their female counterparts.  At the peak of unemployment in 2009, men enjoyed an out-of-work rate of 26.6 percent, twice that of the ladies.

The BLS also compiled data on what fields are hiring. Of those who graduated with bachelor’s or advanced degrees in 2011, nearly 40 percent gained employment in educational or health services fields. The industries were followed by the fields of business and professional services, leisure and hospitality, and wholesale and retail trade.

We’re sorry art history majors. The BLS did not have any data on your field, though it shouldn’t be a problem to debate the merits of Rembrandt and Renoir while surfing the job boards.

We wish things were rosier for our recent graduates. If we could hire you, we would.

But the truth is it’s tough out there. Everyone’s vying for the same jobs and they’re hard to come by.

But rest assured, something will come along, and if Randolph-Macon’s reputation holds true,  you’ve been prepared for whatever comes your way.


Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 10:29 am