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College grads have options as hiring comes back strong

Job prospects for college graduates have improved dramatically in the more than two years since COVID-19 nearly brought the economy to a standstill across the country.

In New York, hiring is up, unemployment is down and companies plan to boost hiring of college graduates, according to career services professionals and the state’s workforce tracker. .

Siena College senior Scott Leggio has two reasons to celebrate this spring. Not only will he graduate on Sunday, but he has also already landed a job.

“Last week, Friday, I accepted a position as a legal assistant,” the graduate said.

The desk is not the only one.

According to professionals at college career services in Siena and elsewhere in the state, this is a market for job seekers.

“We see that many have already secured full-time jobs, and have for some time,” said Alicia Pepe, assistant vice president for experiential learning and career development at Siena College. “Actually, one of the biggest struggles, which is a big problem to have, is that they’ve had multiple offers. So they’re trying to really narrow down the best job offers.

While COVID-19 has hurt many industries and created hesitation in hiring, a spring survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that more than 30% of companies plan to increase the recruitment of university graduates this year, the largest year-on-year increase. less than a decade.

Recruitment is how Leggio landed his first post-college gig.

The process was quick.

“I applied on Monday, the application was accepted, we had an interview on Tuesday,” he said. “I received the offer on Wednesday morning. Friday morning, I said, “I accept your offer”, and that’s kind of how it went.

Pepe sees a demand for hiring in jobs such as data analysis, business analysis, accounting and finance.

“Employers I work with are interested in hiring,” Pepe said. “They have many positions in a variety of industries.”

Sharon Edwards-Grant, acting associate director of career services at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, recently helped organize two job fairs attended by dozens of employers. The event connected students to interviews, internships and offers.

“There are many different options,” Edwards-Grant said. “We are seeing the key roles right now are in IT, cybersecurity, financial markets and the healthcare services industry is booming. Educators at the moment are also in high demand, with people leaving and entering the field.

While the average starting salary for a bachelor’s degree graduate is around $55,000, IT and cybersecurity jobs can currently start at over $60,000, Edwards-Grant said.

The national unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, while the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree graduates aged 20-24 was 5.6% in April, down from 7.9% in April 2021, according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state unemployment rate is 4.6%. There were 27,500 private sector jobs added in New York in March, according to the state Department of Labor.

Some of the biggest job gains over the past year in the state have been in recreation and hospitality, professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities.

For students who haven’t landed a job yet, Pepe advises building on personal connections.

“Whether it’s a career center at your university or your own personal network…I know that here in Siena we have a fantastic alumni network who are really willing and able to support and stand up for current students,” Pepe said.

At St. Rose, Edwards-Grant said COVID-19 has really hurt some students and industries, but optimism has returned as more people return to class and work.

“I think the economy continues to rebound and fluctuate, but employers are optimistic,” she said. “Businesses and individuals still need services. »

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