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2022 college grads will have great opportunities in labor market, MSU study finds

Posted at 11:13 AM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 11:13:56-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. — MSU’s annual Recruiting Trends Report found that during the pandemic, 30 percent of workers younger than 40 have considered changing their job or work field.

The year 2021 has been characterized by the Great Resignation. Roughly 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in December only, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the study finds that not only are these positions now open, but also that COVID has postponed hiring in many fields.

“For new college grads, it's going to be a very strong labor market,” said Phil Gardner, the publisher of MSU’s annual Recruiting Trends Report.

Gardner said a reason for open positions is that companies did not recruit for some of them last year because of COVID. He also added there is no immigration policy in place to keep workers coming and that there has been a shift in many people’s perceptions of their relationship to work.

“(Baby) boomers are very attached to work, work identity, they, they really identify who they are by the work they do… and younger people are looking for more balance… they're going to work hard, but the work isn't going to dominate their lives like it did for boomers,” said Gardner.

He says students who are looking for jobs need to take initiative, for example, by using MSU’s Career Services.

“The best thing that we do to help students…is really helping them explore ‘where am I going to be, where am I going, what I'm all done with classrooms,’” said Bill Morgan, MSU’s Career Services coordinator.

“It just kind of was good to put the plan on paper, instead of just imagining it in my head… it also leaves alleviated a lot of stress,” said Junior Amanda Featherston, a Neuroscience major at MSU and a student employee at MSU’s Career Services Network. She thought she would need to get a master’s degree before pursuing a Ph.D., but MSU’s Career Services Network told her otherwise. “I didn't think that you could just go get a Ph.D., I thought you had to do XY and Z steps."

Morgan and Featherston point out that students should come during their freshman year.

“It's really good to get them in freshman year. So, then, we can set that career path for the four years, and that the career advisors and the career peers here can work with that students through the next four years, getting them ready for the workforce, Masters, PhD or med school,” said Featherston.

Morgan recommends searching for jobs by location and to be ready to answer the phone in the evening or on weekends because that might be the time employers get to call applicants.

“They have to take the initiative to make some things happen. They can't be passive and wait till the employer comes here because that's not happening,” said Gardner.

Gardner says salaries are going up a little bit and definitely more than in the past. The next couple of weeks, he added, would be critical for students to get started because many employers wrap up hiring for the year well before summer.

MSU’s Career Services plans on offering over 25 career fairsthis year. MSU’s Career Handbook is a guide to help students, freshman to seniors, prepare for life after college.