That’s what recent college grads want to know, especially as the Raleigh job market continues to attract 20-somethings nationwide in addition to thousands graduating each year who want to stay put. With the national spotlight continuing to push students toward degrees promising higher job placements, namely in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, college students are paying attention.
“Freshman walking through the doors at new student orientation are still worried about the typical things—will I like my roommate, will I find my way on campus—but we’re starting to see more students wondering about what degree is going to ensure they find a job upon graduation,” says Leslie Rand-Pickett, assistant director of NC State University’s Career Development Center. “Ten years ago, a job offer after college was almost assumed.”
Despite initial worries, students are finding plenty of opportunities. Local universities say the number of open job positions they’re filling—and the number of companies signing up to recruit—continues to increase.
Triangle companies have their pick of job prospects.
In fact, some grads in competitive majors are turning down offers in major cities to stay in Raleigh, recently named by Career Builder and Forbes the third best place to work in the nation during the second quarter of 2015.
NC State’s computer science program, for example, reports 75 percent of its graduates stay in the Triangle.
“Computer science is one of the most in-demand professions in the country,” says Rand-Pickett, “and the fact our graduates choose to stay here speaks highly of what this area has to offer.”
Who’s not hiring?
Other industries, including legal, were harder hit during the 2008 economic downturn and have been slower to recover. The Law School Admission Council recently reported applications to U.S. law schools in 2014 were at their lowest level in 10 years.
Elliot Abrams, 29, a criminal defense attorney with Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan in Raleigh who graduated in 2011 from Georgetown Law School, said firms have been slow to hire the past few years. As a result, attorneys fresh out of law school were competing for the same jobs with more experienced lawyers who suddenly found themselves out of work.
“It was a tough time for a lot of people,” says Abrams. “But in the last year or two, we’re starting to see new positions open up and more movement among attorneys leaving to join different firms after they hunkered down during the worst of the recession. Law firms are being more cautious in their hiring processes, but the jobs are there.”
Statistics that will make recent grads smile
Since last year, full-time job openings rose 20 percent nationwide. Experts say the increase was seen in positions normally deemed a “luxury” for companies; the increase indicates confidence in the improving economy.