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NJ College Grads Plunge Into The Job Market [AUDIO]

College students who are getting their diplomas this month should have a bit of an easier time getting a job than their recent counterparts, but it’s still going to be tough.

Rutgers commencement
Graduates file into Rutgers commencement. (Rutgers University)

Carl Van Horn, the Director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, says after reviewing the employment histories of college grads for the past 5 years “we found that just about half of them were able to find a full-time job – now, there are more than that, that are working part-time – but a lot of people are still working part- time or they’re in graduate school…and four in ten reported the job they were working on actually required a 4 year degree- so they’re working in jobs that didn’t require the education that they obtained.”

He says “the economy is slowly improving – we’ve had a positive job growth in the United States and in New Jersey over the last several months – so it’s better than it was a year ago or two years ago, but it’s still a struggle, because they’re going to be competing with students who graduated a few years before them…and another complicating factor is student debt that has to be paid off – which is okay over the long run – but in the short run they may struggle to do that, because they don’t have a full time job that pays them enough.”

Van Horn points out “those graduating in 2009, 10 and 11 earned about 10 percent less than the students who graduated just a couple of years before…the average salary was about 27 thousand a year for that time period – now it’s about 28 thousand…but students graduating should remember it takes now probably about 6 months for most of them to find a job – not a part-time job but a full-time job- but then they don’t necessarily hold onto it – they are experiencing- they’ll get the job, then they are laid off, then they have to look for another job – so there’s a lot of turning over in the labor market in the first year or two.”

He adds “they’re going to have to be persistent in looking for a job – for the next several months- and many of them will not have one lined up until 6 months or a year from now -they have to be persistent and patient -but they should be optimistic because over time we know that people with a college degree will do better than those without -it’s just going to be frustrating for many people.”

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