When the class of 2002 entered college four years ago, the economy was in great shape. This year’s seniors watched their older friends ride the dot-com wave as they graduated from UR with multiple job offers in hand.

Now, as the first graduating class to face the post-Sept. 11 economy, seniors are finding it increasingly difficult to secure any job.

A Career Center survey taken in early April showed that only 9 percent of the 404 respondents had been offered and accepted a full-time job in their career field. In contrast, an average of 17 percent of respondents over the previous three years had secured a job by that time.

“No matter their major, this is a difficult year for students,” Director of the Career Center Burt Nadler said. “It doesn’t take an economics major to see that the economy impacts the job market. There’s no question in my mind that UR seniors will be successful, but it will take longer this year.”

Hiring for new college graduates has fallen at least 20 percent from last year, according to a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Thirty-two percent of respon-dents to the Career Center survey in April were actively seeking employment in their career field. Eight percent had not yet begun their job search. Four percent had been offered a job but had not yet accepted. Four percent were planning to join Peace Corps, Ameri-Corps or a similar program. Two percent had been offered an internship.

Twenty-three percent will attend graduate school, down from 29 percent over the last three years. The depressed job market has driven many college graduates to wait out the recession in graduate school, making admission to graduate school significantly more competitive.

Universities report that applications for MBA programs soared by 30 percent to 200 percent this spring, according to the Washington Post.

Senior Keith Campbell, who will go to Georgia Tech in the fall, says he’s definitely relieved that he doesn’t have to look for a job.

“I tried finding internships and I didn’t get anything, so I’m just going to hang out for the summer,” said the electrical and computer engineering major. “I only know a few people who have a good job lined up. It’s rough right now.”

Low morale

The challenge this year is not just logistical, but also psychological because of the negative outlook on the economy. Nadler says some students who have been doing everything right and would have had a job by last year’s standards are still looking.

“The key difference between this year and past years is that students may not see positive reinforcement as soon this year,” he said.

Nadler says this is the first year the job market has slowed down across the board in all majors and fields. The only exception, he says, has been in education and human services.

Senior Ann Carr, a psychology major, will be working as a teacher’s aide in a school for autistic children.

“It wasn’t hard for me to get a job in that field, because they’re usually looking for people, but otherwise it would have been,” Carr said. “Most people I know don’t have anything.”

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers study, the most job offers for this year’s graduates are in accounting, engineering, education and rental services.

The Career Center is still offering a program with recruiters called “UR Still Looking.” Nadler’s advice to jobless seniors is to take a course over the summer that is relevant to their desired job, which will give them an edge in their interviews.

Senior Matt Andisik still has not found anything. He sent out about 15 resumes to engineering companies, but no one seemed interested. His story is one that is familiar to many of the class of 2002.

“I’ll be taking a year off at home, saving up some money and looking for a job,” he said. “None of my friends really have anything either.”

Additional reporting by Karen Taylor.

Le can be reached at cle@campustimes.org.



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