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Studying in the US: The Job Market

Employers are hiring fewer college graduates and fewer interns because of the recession. Part 40 of our Foreign Student Series. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

In America, May and June are the traditional months for graduations. A listener in China, Jack Hoo from Jiangsu province, wants to know how American college graduates find jobs. Right now the answer is: not very easily.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers collects information on the college job market. NACE's latest survey in March found that employers expected to hire twenty-two percent fewer graduates this year than last. Most blamed the recession.

The most recent student survey showed that just one-fifth of those who looked for jobs before graduation have one by now. This is compared to half of students who had looked for a job by this time two years ago. But one difference: fewer of this year's graduates have started to search for jobs.

Still, NACE found no big increase in graduates who plan to stay in school and avoid the job market. About twenty-seven percent said they plan to go to graduate school, compared to about twenty-four percent a year ago.

Engineering and accounting graduates were more likely to have started their job search already and to have accepted a job. These are among the best paid professions for people with just a college degree. On average, engineering majors expect to start at about sixty-two thousand dollars a year. Accounting majors expect about forty-five thousand.

So how can students increase their chances for a job? Mimi Collins at NACE says the most effective tool is a school's career counseling center. Counselors can help students with job applications and preparing for interviews. They also let students know about job openings and events like job recruitment fairs. They can also help first-year students decide what to study.

Another way to look for a job is to do an internship. This is when a student gets experience in a position that may or may not be paid. The latest NACE survey found that seventy-three percent of graduates who did get jobs had completed an internship.

The group reported in March that employers expected to increase hourly wage offers for college interns by five percent from last year. But, because of the economy, employers reduced the number of internships available by twenty-one percent.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. You can find our Foreign Student Series on studying in the United States at I'm Steve Ember.