Though employers predict they will hire more college graduates from this year’s class, seniors at the University of Maryland are looking for alternatives to post-graduate employment.
Employers said they plan to hire 19.3 percent more students from the 2011 class than from last year's class, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey reported in April. But some students who aren’t optimistic about the job market said they’re looking into higher education and internships instead.
“I’m not hopeful about the economy at all,” said senior public health major Salim Jackson. “I’m going [to] be in school as long as I can while the economy is bad.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the October unemployment rate was 9.0 percent while the unemployment rate among those with at least a bachelor’s degree who are 25 years and older is 4.4 percent.
Another reason students want to pursue other options is because they want to establish a firm network of contacts that could aid them in the future, when applying for jobs.
“I stopped going to school for a while but just came back because I wanted to be in the academic world,” said senior environmental science and policy major Van Pham. “I value a university education because of the resources I get exposed to. I want to meet people working in the same field [as me].”
Though employers encourage students to network, an adjunct instructor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism who is also the executive editor at The Daily Record said students shouldn’t rely on it too heavily.
“I’ve certainly hired people I’ve been in contact with," Tom Linthicum said. “But networking [alone] doesn’t cut it for me.”
Still, students will often accept opportunities without compensation because of the demand for experiences and making contacts.
“I see it as, you can pick to do anything now and try all different kinds of things to find connections,” said junior environmental science and policy major Melissa Paciotti, “because without connections you’re kind of lost.”