According to Time and a survey by consulting company Accenture, this year’s college graduates are about to be faced with a big reality check regarding their professional future. I find this totally confusing, because I don’t know a single young person who isn’t terrified about their career prospects, even though Time claims grads are “pretty optimistic.” My experience is purely anecdotal, but most college seniors I know seem to have an overinflated perception of how bad the job market is, rather than some idea that employers will be lining up to hire them. Nobody is surprised that there are few job offers to be had, and in fact, this perceived poor outlook sometimes gets so out of hand that it becomes a hindrance that prevents them from even believing they’re worthy of applying to jobs in their field.
The facts behind the survey are pretty dismal. Accenture polled 2014 graduates and compared their expectations to the actual experiences of 2012 and 2013 gradates. The study found that 85 percent of grads are confident that they’ll find work in their field (seriously, who are these overconfident students?), but in reality, only two-thirds of them will. Even more depressing is the fact that 69 percent of students believe their job search will take less than six months, but only 42 percent will actually find a job in that time. Over 80 percent of grads expect to make more than $25,000 a year once they find a job, but only 60% actually will. There’s also the fact that while the majority of grads expect that they’ll receive training from their employer once they’re hired, less than 50 percent will receive formal training.
Time insists that parents are the cause of grads’ unrealistic idea of the job market, and that’s something I can agree with. Parents have a very different view of how to find a job after college, because most of them did it decades ago in a very different professional climate. Parents’ well-meaning advice can be totally out of sync with modern hiring expectations, which leads their kids astray. There’s also the fact that some parents simply don’t seem to be aware of just how low the odds are of young people getting hired. All some parents see is the great traits in their kid and a still-unemployed status, and they can’t help but scratch their heads at why some great company hasn’t snatched them up yet. Hate to break it to you, parents, but there are more awesome kids out there than you’d think. Again, I’m defaulting to anecdotal evidence, but as someone in her early twenties, I hear a lot of optimistic phone calls from my friends’ parents asking how the job search is going, swiftly followed by said friend snapping at them and hanging up. It seems that a lot of parents simply aren’t aware of how rough it is out there. I don’t say any of this to be a downer, but that said, I suppose if any grads were feeling remotely confident about their prospects, they certainly aren’t after reading these statistics. Hey, chin up! Things can only get better from here!