This year’s job market has been particularly bright for UT graduates. According to data released by the Texas Workforce Commission in April, the Austin metro area’s unemployment rate was at 4.2 percent in March, its lowest point since July 2007, and Texas continues to trend below the national average of 5.5 percent.
Beneath the rosy surface, however, a gap between individuals’ majors has been created based on employers’ needs. According to PayScale.com, a senior software engineer graduate from UT can earn up to $99,666 a year, while a social work graduate makes $40,000 a year. For those graduates struggling to find a job, the overall wages have not grown enough to keep up with the increasingly expensive cost of living in Austin.
Historically, Austin has a high retention rate of UT graduates that stay to work. The city attracts 150 people on average daily, making it the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan area. However, staying here is far from easy.
The University equips us with knowledge and teaches us how to think independently. What the University does not do is tell us that we may hit rock-bottom before we even get the chance to launch our careers. Many might believe that after going through a four-year college, we are employable. But when faced with a field of competitors numbering in the hundreds of thousands of new graduates, we are crushed by the vast field of competitors.
According to the College of Liberal Arts Career Services, the majority of 2014 graduates pursued and obtained traditional full-time employment, but a significant percentage of students pursued graduate school, part-time or contract employment, entrepreneurship, year of service, gap years, and other experiences post-graduation. The office did not provide any specific numbers.
To combat the current pattern of graduate employment rates, students need to prepare now to increase chances of being hired. UT offers numerous resources to help students to prepare for the other side of graduation. Each college has a career services center that helps students create opportunities that will help them later. Using these centers to find internships and network with professionals are all good practices. Surely some will take us further, and some will lead us to the wrong directions. But, that’s the beauty of college: We still have time to fail. And we will learn from those experiences.
In the end, finding a job is not easy, and with a backlog of unemployed college graduates of the past few years, it never will be. One thing we should realize is that a college degree may not necessarily qualify us for a job, but the right attitude will.
Xing is a second-year advertising graduate from Beijing