Graduate unemployment rises

February 18, 2010

Jue Chen

Jue Chen

Georgetown graduates looking for jobs in the midst of the recession had less luck than their recent predecessors, according to a report released by the Georgetown Career Center on Tuesday. The percentage of graduates reporting employment within six months of graduation fell from 62 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2009, while the number of graduates still seeking employment rose from seven to 12 percent.

The survey—to which 60 percent of the class of 2009 responded—showed that banking remained the most popular career field for new alumni. While consulting was the second most popular field in 2008, education became the second most popular field in 2009. Other popular career fields are consulting, health care, government, accounting and non-profit.

“The government and non-profit fields remain popular with Georgetown students, and these employers are reaching out to our students,” Career Center Executive Director Mike Schaub wrote in an e-mail.

Although many economists predicted the recession would cause more college graduates to enroll in graduate school in lieu of entering the job market, the percentage of Georgetown graduates enrolling in graduate programs actually decreased slightly, down one percent from the class of 2008’s graduate school enrollment rate. The percentage of Georgetown alumni attending graduate school immediately after graduation has remained relatively constant since 2001, varying only by a margin of five percent.

Georgetown University remains the most popular choice for graduate school, with 46 students reporting that they will be staying on the hilltop to pursue a J.D., Ph.D., or M.D. degree.

Other peer institutions that have published the results of senior exit surveys reported similar trends in employment and matriculation to graduate school. At the University of Chicago, the percentage of graduates who had secured full-time employment dropped by five percent, and the percentage of graduates still looking for a job increased by six percent. The Harvard Career Center reported that the percentage of graduates who had accepted a job at graduation decreased by 18 percent, from 51 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2009.

According to Schaub, current students do not need to be overly concerned about future prospects.

“The bottom line is that Georgetown students are sought after by employers and will be competitive in the job search, although the process may take a little longer during a poor economic climate,” Schaub said.

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