School is starting across the nation and many college students will be picking majors or finalizing career plans as the year unfolds. For recruiters in some industries, your selection options will be ripe for the picking, but for others, you may be faced with the same challenges you’ve been struggling with for much of 2018.
Last decade’s recession negatively impacted the landscape for jobseekers. Meanwhile, the reduction in openings coincided with still-ongoing growth in the number of college-educated jobseekers on the market. The National Center for Education Statistics reported ahead of the 2017–2018 academic calendar year that college enrollment jumped by more than 5 million since 2000.
Despite the hard toll the Great Recession took on the job market for college graduates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2017 end-of-year report found those with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $1,193 per week, compared to $761 for those whose highest level of education was a high school diploma.
However, if current trends continue, the employment outlook for the class of 2019 looks bleak. Employers plan to hire 1.3% fewer graduates from the Class of 2018 than they did from the Class of 2017, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This marks the first hiring decrease since the Class of 2010, at the end of the recession, when employers planned to cut hiring by 7%.
Which Professions Have the Best Prospects?
Learning a trade profession may be a better option than college for many young adults. The high number of young adults choosing college over learning a trade has created a ‘skills gap’ in the United States and there is now a shortage of trade workers such as machinists, electricians, plumbers, and construction workers.
Those who choose not to attain a college degree can build a rewarding and profitable career by gaining the skills and training for these in-demand occupations. However, for those who do choose college, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers remain in high demand.
CareerCast has identified some of the best college undergraduate majors for undecided students and those looking to make a career change. The best college degrees range from accounting and chemistry to computer science and nursing. Rounding out the list of the majors with the most promising futures are business management, finance, information systems, marketing, mathematics, and mechanical engineering.