East Bay News

Grim outlook for college grads

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Next month, thousands of Bay Area college graduates will hit the work force or try to. The outlook for new jobs is grim. They are facing disappointing statistics, but there are a few encouraging signs.

"I'm looking for a job in the healthcare field, in the administration aspect of the field," said Davin Lal, a Cal State East Bay student.

When Lal graduates with a degree in healthcare sciences, He'll be facing some tough statistics. A Rutgers University poll shows the average starting salary is down, just 56 percent of the Class of 2010 have found a job and they are also having a harder time paying of student loans.

"I even have some friends right now that are working minimum wage jobs when they have two degrees," said Lal.

The competition for jobs is fierce.

"They're looking for students who are good communicators, they are looking for students who have some experience. We think internships count for a great deal," said Larry Bliss, the director of academic advising at Cal State East Bay.

Now, more students are contemplating a back-up plan.

"I would probably try to get into the Peace Corps or maybe do some military work," said Lal.

The situation at Cal State East Bay reflects the overall national picture for job prospects, but over at UC Berkeley things are looking a little rosier. UC Berkeley says it had so many recruiters this year it had to expand its job fair an extra day.

"We are hearing from employers that they had been holding back on their hiring plans and now they're a little bit more confident about their plans and that's why they're showing up at Berkeley in larger and larger numbers," said Suzanne Helbig, the assistant director at UC Berkeley's career center.

UC says the majority of new jobs are being offered by high tech industries. Many of them expect to increase hiring by 13 percent. They may be picking from the top schools first, but the demand for fresh graduates is expected to trickle down.

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uc berkeley, jobs, east bay news, alan wang
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