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Job Market Tough for Some 2023 Grads

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 30, 2023

iStock-510574782 Interview Woman Female

In contrast to the past two years, graduating seniors this year are finding it more difficult to land a job, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Companies that were hiring in 2021 and 2022, such as Amazon, Meta and McKinsey & Co., have been laying off thousands of workers in recent months. Amazon has postponed start dates for some recent graduates, and Wayfair, which has cut one-tenth of its workforce, is limiting its hiring of new interns and full timers.   

Almost all of the 1,000 college seniors surveyed by recruiting-software firm iCIMS in March said they have considered alternative options, such as graduate school, gig work or taking a job outside their major, the Journal reported. 

Rachel Kaschner, associate director of Ohio State University’s engineering career-services office, told the Journal that the students she counsels are willing to work harder on applications and apply to a broader range of companies.

Companies are bracing for a recession, according to the Journal, and that could affect new graduates’ careers and earnings, as they may be forced to take jobs that they may not want or pay lower than they expect. The unemployment rate for college graduates aged 20 to 24 was 4.6 percent in February, double that of December 2021, making competition fiercer, as graduates who left school in recent years are also looking for jobs.

‘If there weren’t a lot of jobs in 2020, it feels like there’s almost less now because of the number of people who are out of work that have some experience,” Charlie Cain, managing director and executive vice president of staffing firm Beacon Hill Associates, told the Journal.

But some are still hiring, looking to the future. Although JPMorgan Chase &Co. laid off hundreds of employees in its mortgage division in February, it is hiring more full-time members of the class of 2023 than it did last year with the class of 2022, a spokesman told the Journal. Consulting firm AlixPartners LLP has hired its largest class of new MBAs ever, Senior Vice President Aaron Goldberg said, several of whom were attracted by the firm’s stability.

In a survey of 422 job-seeking seniors late last year conducted by Handshake, a job-search platform for college students, 84 percent of respondents said that job stability would make them more likely to apply for a job, up from 73 percent the prior year. 

Kelly Jones, chief people officer at Cisco Systems Inc., told the Journal that new graduates with degrees in fields such as software engineering and computer science need to temper their expectations and may not have their pick of several jobs at once. “But no one is going without an offer,” she said of graduates with such degrees.

Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake’s chief education strategy officer, told the Journal that her firm is telling companies outside of the tech industry that they can possibly attract talented grads looking for other options. 

University of Notre Dame engineering major Mia Gorman told the Journal that she treated her job search as if it were an extra class. After searching job listings in the fall for those that required less than one year of experience, she applied everywhere that seemed like a possible fit. She ultimately accepted a position that she discovered through an email newsletter from an engineering society. It did not come easy; it took months of multiple rounds of interviews and an in-person office visit to get the offer.

“It feels great to not have to worry about interviewing,” she said.