A study was recently conducted by Georgetown University to see which majors have the highest rates of unemployment for graduates coming out of college.
The leading majors for unemployment are information systems at 14.7 percent, architecture at 12.8 percent, anthropology at 12.6 percent and political science at 11.1 percent. All four listed majors are degrees K-State students can obtain. Many students are entering into these majors or are about to graduate with one of these degrees.
“The high unemployment rates make me very nervous,” Ciara Chambers, sophomore in political science, said. “I honestly thought about changing my major a lot last year, and even into this year, to accommodate for it, but I really like my major. I know that I need to work that much harder to find a good position within political science, and I am going to have to get involved with everything possible.”
Hearing these statistics has even turned some prospective students away from going into particular majors.
Andrea Hopkins, sophomore in industrial engineering, considered taking economics as a minor, but said she is having second guesses about picking it up because of all the necessary extra work with possibly little reward.
“I really thought about getting a minor in economics, but honestly my workload is a lot as is,” Hopkins said. “With such high unemployment within [economics], I do not know if it would really help out my resume that much.”
These statistics may look high compared to other majors. However, it is worth noting that college graduates of most majors are having a more difficult time finding jobs within their fields. According to research done by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in January, more than a third of graduates are working jobs that do not require a degree.
“Students should understand that their job search may take a little longer, but the payoff may be interesting career opportunities in the future,” Jeffrey Pickering, department head of political science, said. “They should also find comfort in the fact that in an age where the average American worker changes jobs 11 times during their career, they will have gained a broad skill set which should open up a range of different career opportunities.”
Many incoming students may look at these numbers and think that they need to switch their major for more post-college job security. However, Stacy Smith, graduate student and instructor in sociology, said she would never discourage a student from going into a field they truly love.
“I would encourage students to be realistic about the market,” Smith said. “Be realistic about the opportunities out there. If this is something that you are passionate about, then you can probably find a way to make it work. I would never encourage a student toward a degree that does not interest them.”
It is also essential to remember that these major categories are broad and could cover a range of different positions within a field which might not strictly qualify as jobs within that major in the way the study measures them.
“Political science is a major that allows students to follow a number of different career paths — in government, education, law and the private sector,” Pickering said. “This simply means that the initial job search may take slightly longer for our majors than some professional or specialized degrees.”
The skills one learns in college need to be in demand, as well. Students looking to go into a field that is not in high demand should expect a difficult job search in this economy.
“If you want to be employable upon graduation, you have to learn tactical skills that are needed by companies that are growing,” Michael Staton, partner at Learn Capital, said. Learn Capital is a venture capital firm focused on funding entrepreneurs with a vision for better and smarter learning.
Smith said students coming into the current, deflated job market should make sure they are competitive.
“Do every scrap of work, talk to every professor, take every opportunity and do your very best work,” Smith said. “It’s rough out there in the job market, and those who are motivated are going to do better. Find something that motivates you, and then be curious about it. When you are looking for a job, you need to make yourself memorable. Having something that you are passionate about, curious about — that just might be the thing that gets you hired.”