Job Shortage Climbs Again

As the end of this academic year approaches, most seniors have only half a quarter remaining until  graduation. For Christine Manalo, a fourth-year biology major, her plans after graduation are simple: attend pharmacy school and become a pharmacist. However, with California’s unemployment rate rising to 12.6 percent, other seniors cannot help but look at their post-undergrad plans with trepidation. The intense competition for entry-level jobs has led graduating seniors to begin looking for employment even before they have walked.

“They are gonna have a really hard time,” Manalo said. “I know half of my friends are already looking for jobs. They know that they have to compete with other graduating college students.”

A significant number of graduating students want to remain in Orange County and Los Angeles area, increasing the level of competition between graduating seniors from the multitude of local four-year colleges. This creates the perception that there is a shortage of entry-level jobs.

“For some of my friends, instead of moving back home, they try to get jobs at restaurants or retailers, to pay their rent,” Manalo said. “They’re trying to get by until they can find a job in their field.”

Tiffany Schivley, the marketing coordinator of the UCI Career Center, commented on the difficult circumstances.

“I think that graduating students have to be prepared. They have to be competitive. The media is scaring the students. They believe that there are no jobs out there, so they do not look as hard. But, there are jobs out there. Students need to take action to be better candidates,” Schivley said.

In this economic crisis, things might look grim and desperate, but the situation is not entirely without hope.

On Thursday, April 22, the UCI Career Center hosted its quarterly career fair at the Student Center where employers interested in hiring graduating students were invited to come and meet with potential candidates.

“We have 70 employers here today,” said Kathy Dotson, a career counselor and assistant director and marketing manager at the UCI Career Center. “We are paying them to come and hire our students.”

While California’s unemployment rate might be rising, the rates of employment for students have actually risen steadily over the past two years.

“It’s different for the student population. Companies are always looking for fresh talent. They need entry-level jobs to replace the higher-paying employees that they are laying off,” Dotson said.

Michelle Foley, who is in charge of Employer and Campus Relations at the Career Center, said that the need for practical experience is imperative for employment after college. This can be acquired through interning. Foley believes this is pertinent for even those students who plan to pursue a graduate degree. As for a personal message to the soon-to-be graduating students, Foley offered the following piece of advice:
“Dedicate at least five hours of your week to look for a job. Online is not the only source for a job. [With]  online,  employers only see the resume . You should go to career fairs and meet these employers. Just be active,” Foley said.