Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce recently released Hard Times, a report on the link between college majors, unemployment rates and earnings, concluding that not all college degrees create equal opportunities after graduation.
Though recent college graduates have a 9 percent unemployment rate, the study found some majors offer considerably better employment prospects than others.
Statistics from recent college graduates show education, health care, business and professional services industries yield the lowest unemployment rates, whereas unemployment is highest in architecture, humanities and liberal arts majors.
Carl Martellino, executive director and associate dean of the Career Center, said this study does not change the way the Career Center advises students because the economy is always changing.
“The economy goes up and down, and each [major] gets its turn,” Martellino said. “That statement regarding high unemployment rates for architecture majors may change a year from now, so it’s hard to pick one major and look at economy at one point in time.”
Martellino said students’ anxieties about job security is not new, and the important thing for students to focus on now is getting job experience as soon as possible through internships.
“What is important are internships, where students take their experience from the classroom and gain writing, analytical and critical thinking skills,” Martellino said.
Lori Shreve Blake, director of Alumni Career Services, said this information should not change what students should consider when choosing their major, although it should encourage them to further research their interests.
“For students struggling with their major, we [first] ask what their interests are and then give them information and research guides to look into different industries,” Blake said.
Blake suggests Hoover’s Online Vault, which provides detailed descriptions of corporations. Students can access it through ConnectSC, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook and USC’s net dictionary.
“Students need to research the profession and talk to the alumni who are in those jobs, and the Trojan Network database has more than 8,000 alumni who are willing to talk with students about careers,” Blake said.
Some students, however, still feel anxiety about entering the job market after graduation.
Myrna Ayoub, a senior majoring in architecture, which has a 13.9 percent unemployment rate, credits USC with teaching her technical skills and helping her get internships every summer. On the other hand, she said she is not sure if she will be employed when she leaves college.
“I feel prepared, but the economy is not prepared to take all of us,” Ayoub said. “We have all the tools, but there aren’t enough jobs to support everyone coming out.”
Vidal Woods, a freshman majoring in international relations, which has a 4.8 percent unemployment rate, said he worries about whether he will get a job that is high-paying enough after graduation.
“USC offers plenty of opportunities to students for internships and connections with people in the work force,” Woods said. “What I would be worried about is salary — not will I get a job, but will I make enough money to survive on my own.”
Other students said they are confident about with their ability to get a job given their choice of major.
Catherine Barth, a sophomore majoring in kinesiology, which has a 1.8 percent unemployment rate, said she chose her major because health workers are always needed, and she feels secure because USC has connections with local hospitals.
“As a pre-health major, I feel really secure,” Barth said. “The reason why I chose USC was because it is so connected with this area in [Los Angeles], such as the Los Angeles Hospital.”
Barth said she thinks she will have job opportunities when she graduates.
“USC has prepared me coming out of college with job opportunities and connections,” Barth said. “USC has the most competitive programs in the nation and going out into the real world, students are recognized for being a pre-med major at USC — employers recognize the name.”
Despite the new information regarding majors, Blake said employers are now looking to hire more than ever, and they are coming to USC to seek future employees.
“The economy is getting better and USC is the university of choice for many companies,” Blake said. “Companies come unsolicited to us and they come for one reason: because we are USC.”