What's the Historical Average Employment Rate for Recent College Grads?

There are multiple government agencies that create reports about employment rates. These agencies also make predictions about possible employment in the future. Typically, these reports break down information by education level, which can be helpful when you want to know statistics about recent college grads.

2010-2020 Job Openings that Require a Bachelor's Degree

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that, from 2010 to 2020, roughly 8.5 million jobs that typically require a bachelor's degree would be available (www.bls.gov). During this period, the BLS stated that jobs would be most readily available in the fields of business, education, and computer science.

The BLS did note that despite an expected large number of job openings for college graduates, you might face some competition for jobs in certain fields, such as those that hire individuals with college degrees from multiple disciplines. Additionally, the number of qualified workers may be larger than the number of job openings.

Important Facts About Employment for New College Grads

Average Starting Salary (2014) $48,127 (graduates with bachelor's degrees)
Essential Tools Graduates who attend job fairs, craft eye-catching resumes, take advantage of their social networks, and show up to interviews with confidence and energy make attractive candidates.
Employer Considerations Internships, work experience, volunteer experience, college major, GPA, extracurricular activities
Continuing Education In some fields, like computer science, mathematics, and information technology, getting a master's level degree could lead to higher pay and more job opportunities.

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers

2015 Unemployment Rates of College Graduates vs. High School Graduates

As of 2015, the unemployment rate among recent college graduates is 7.2%. 10.5% are considered 'idle' meaning they are neither employed nor enrolled in further education. In comparison, the unemployment rate of recent high school graduates is 19.5%, with 16.3% considered idle.

BLS 2014-2024 Employment Information

The BLS publishes reports on employment rates, noting the education required for each profession. In 2014, the BLS reported that high school graduates would have the greatest luck finding a job in the customer service representation field, which had a projected growth of 252,900 jobs between 2014 and 2024. The median salary for such a position is projected to be $31,200.

For graduates of bachelor's degree programs, the BLS reports that the fastest growing field is nursing. Between 2014 and 2024, 439,300 nursing positions are projected to open up from pure growth to graduates of bachelor degree programs, while 649,100 positions will need to be replaced. Nurses can expect to make a median wage of $66,640 per year.

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