What your graduates have to say about the job market in 2024

Higher ed is doing a great job of preparing graduates for the workforce. The economic climate, however, isn't doing them any favors.

The employment landscape has seen dramatic changes over the past few years. A dynamic economy, coupled with the lingering effects of the pandemic, makes it difficult for graduates to leverage the skills they’ve gained during their postsecondary journeys.

Seventy-seven percent of graduates say they’re concerned about job security while seeking employment right now, according to Monster’s 2024 State of the Graduate Report. The 1,000 new and impending college grads who took the survey also outlined the priorities they take into consideration when looking for a job, including:

  • Company reputation
  • Career development
  • Politics
  • Mental health
  • Work flexibility

Post-grad jitters

Higher education institutions are successfully preparing students for the workforce considering graduates are reporting high confidence in their ability to find a job. However, the current market dampens their optimism about a number of factors.

Sixty-nine percent of college graduates say they’re worried that the current state of the economy will negatively impact their job prospects. Another 52% assume they won’t be able to find a job at the company of their choice.

Furthermore, graduates say they won’t apply to a job at a company that:

  • Has a salary freeze in effect (84%)
  • Recently had layoffs (79%)
  • Had lower than average earnings last year (74%)

Folks are leveraging technological advancements like AI to streamline the job-seeking process to increase their chances of employment. For instance, survey takers admitted to using generative AI to:

  • Write emails (40%)
  • Write résumés (40%)
  • Practice interview responses to generated questions (33%)
  • Draft cover letters (29%)

However, 62% of respondents said it will be harder to find a job due to AI filling roles previously filled by humans.

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Considering politics

The political climate, too, is causing graduates to seek out companies whose employees’ beliefs align closely with their own. The majority of respondents said politics is a significant factor in their post-graduate decisions.

Sixty-seven percent of graduates said they won’t work for a company that openly supports a political topic, issue or candidate they do not. Another 70% said they won’t work for a company if their CEO openly supports a candidate they themselves don’t support. Nearly two-thirds also said they aren’t comfortable working with those who have different political beliefs than their own.

“Given that 2024 is an election year, it likely does not come as a surprise that a company’s political stance is an added factor that these graduates are taking into consideration as they job hunt,” the report reads.

To get a better sense of your graduates’ job preferences and how you can better support them in the process, view the rest of the findings here.

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://universitybusiness.com
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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