Major Matters for U.S. College Graduates Seeking Jobs
By Sandrine Rastello
Accounting student Anne Rose will already have a job waiting when she receives her degree next week. Psychology major Echo Presgraves, another member of the Class of 2012, won’t be so fortunate.
Rose, 22, credits her choice of major as paving her way. She signed a contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP before she even began her senior year at Villanova University’s School of Business in Pennsylvania, after completing an internship last summer with the audit and consulting firm.
“The major obviously has a huge role in it, compared to some of my friends that are marketing majors who still are struggling to find full-time employment right now,” said Rose, who is from Dallas, Texas, in a phone interview between final exams.
As this year’s class enters the strongest job market for graduates since 2008, students with backgrounds in computer science, engineering and accounting are in high demand, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. While the group’s latest survey shows a 10.2 percent increase in hiring plans from 2011, the improvement isn’t benefiting all majors the same way, as in pre-recession years, said Edwin Koc, who heads research at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based NACE.
“It’s a much more split market,” Koc said, adding the pattern this year mirrors a survey last year of students’ job offers. Graduates “with certain skill sets are doing quite well,” while things are tougher for others, such as liberal- arts, humanities and education majors, he said...
...“I see the job market for young grads improving, albeit slowly,” said Jim John, chief operating officer of Beyond.com. While the number of jobs posted on the career-network website rose 236 percent in the year through April, entry-level jobs increased only 21 percent, he said.