Graduates march into tough job market

(Credit: Urbanite)

New York University graduation was held last week at Yankee Stadium. (Jefferson Siegel)

By Garett Sloane

Facing a brutal job market, many of the city’s college grads are dreading the real world.

Some have already felt its sting and others are avoiding it altogether — they’re putting the job search on hold, according to a number of students and advisers.

“Every city college is grappling with the downturn in the economy,” said Sophia Demetriou, the director of City College’s career center. “We have seen significant drops in [job] offers from last year.”Lawrence Almanzar, an NYU grad, is among those students — he doesn’t have a full-time job lined up and said most of his friends are in the same boat.

“A bachelor’s is a step, but nowadays you need more than that,” he said.

Indeed, the numbers look bleak in the face of the Big Bust economy. Nationally, 20 percent of college grads who have looked for a job already have one, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. That’s down dramatically from two years ago, when 51 percent had jobs by graduation.

This year’s class is facing unique challenges. Not only are fresh-faced former students going up against the growing ranks of the hardened unemployed, they are facing a bottleneck created from last year’s grads who have yet to find jobs. In New York, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book — a snapshot of the economy in different regions published eight times a year — noted the backlog as a significant challenge to the region’s employment problem.

Career advisers are meeting an already weary class of 2009.

“They hear how tight the job market is,” said Patricia McManus, director of career services at St. John’s University. “They see any type of rejection as something bigger than it is.”

At NYU’s graduation, Dalton Lai, 21, who earned a bachelor’s degree in film, said there’s “a lot of dread.”

He doesn’t have a post-graduation plan, and said he could wind up in Shanghai, sensing opportunity in the Far East.

Instead of rushing into the job market, many students had similar short-term aspirations to travel and ride out the recession.

Other graduates said the world they are entering is broken, and they see a chance to fix it.

“The recession, ironically enough, encourages our class to take action rather than succumb to it,” said NYU grad Thomas Miller.

Tags: class of 2009 , recent grads , job hunt , recession , unemployment , st. john's university , cuny , city college , new york university , nyu , new york city , economy , job market , graduates , schools , job front , education

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