This year’s graduating class is following a national trend toward higher starting salaries, officials in the GW Career Center said. Although the office will not compile the official employment statistics for another few months, officials said anecdotal evidence shows that the Class of 2000 will benefit from a strong economy.
Starting salaries are up six percent from a year ago for graduating seniors nationwide because of continued economic expansion and a low unemployment rate, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
The job market really has changed in the past seven to eight years, said Jennifer Seile, Career Center communication coordinator.
Seile said starting salaries for graduated students entering the work force in the early 1990s averaged about $20,000 a year.
Now we see students starting out making $30,000 a year, she said.
More students have also received multiple job offers, and more companies have come to campus to recruit GW students, Seile said.
The Career Center will not have employment statistics for this year’s graduating class for several months, but Seile said she expects this year’s results to be similar to last year.
Last year, about 71 percent of the graduating class was employed following graduation. About 25 percent went on to professional schools, and about 2 percent decided to spend time with families or travel, said Marva Gumbs, interim executive director of the Career Center. The remaining two percent were not able to find employment at the time of graduation, Gumbs said.
We’re really very pleased with that number, Gumbs said. It speaks very well to GW students.
Some graduating seniors said that about half of their friends have found post-graduate employment while the other half continues to search. Students said they are waiting for jobs that suit them rather than jobs that simply pay.
It’s more important to me that I find a job that I like, rather than finding a job just because I need the money, said senior Caity Leu, who began actively searching for employment about two weeks ago. I know a lot of people who are either staying at the jobs they’ve had through college or are staying at the jobs they’ve had in and out of Washington. People who are still looking for jobs, myself included, aren’t necessarily sure what they want to do with their life.
Senior Nick Krupa, an International Affairs major, said he thinks the robust economy will help him with his job search.
I’m optimistic because of the good job market right now, Krupa said. But Washington is such a different town because the jobs here tend to depend more on the political cycle than the economy.
Krupa said he hopes to begin work after the summer and would like to stay in D.C. working in either the international or media affairs fields or for the government.
I’ve done a lot of internships in Washington, and I’m hopeful that my contacts through those internships will improve my chances, he said. It’s more just trying to find a unique job, like everyone is. Everyone is trying to find something that’s a little different and unique. But it’s nice to have choices, which makes it nice right now. When you’re young you can do unusual things. This is the time you can take chances with the job you get.
Seile said the roles of internships, co-ops and part-time employment have helped this year’s graduating class.
Students here tend to be very savvy about taking an internship or part time job, she said. That certainly lends well to employment after graduation.
Gumbs and Seile said they have seen a substantial increase in the quality of jobs offered to graduating seniors.
We don’t see secretarial jobs or (people working at) McDonald’s as much we used to, Seile said.
Senior Joan Fallon, a political communications major will begin work June 15 at Arnold Communications, an advertising agency in Boston.
There’s a lot of jobs out there and a lot of opportunities, Fallon said. Everywhere you turn there’s something new popping up. I was going to turn this job down to return to California blindly and go home, but I couldn’t really pass it up. I like the work environment, I like the people that are there. And even though the pay isn’t great, the opportunity for advancement is great. I think that there’s different things to balance, and I took the intangibles over the tangibles right now.
Seile said students who haven’t received job offers yet should not to panic. They should visit the Career Center for a consultation and utilize contacts from professors and professional organizations, she said.
Take a moment to evaluate who you are and what you want to do, Seile said. Yes, this is a robust economy with a great job market, but if you’re limited in your field of study to bugs with seven legs and antlers, you may not get your dream job right away. Remember to keep your options open.