We live in different times.
In 2007, over 50 percent of graduates had jobs by graduation day and another 12-19 percent went on to advanced degrees. Today, on a nationwide average, over 80 percent of graduates are unemployed the day their Dean or President hands their diplomas to them, and for grads that don’t have a job by graduation day, it will take an average of 7.4 months to find one!
That’s for graduates. What about alumni?
According to recent research the unemployment rate for alumni has doubled since 2007. In fact, one report suggests 1 in 6 unemployed people have a bachelor’s or higher degree.
On top of those sobering statistics, The Department of Labor’s research suggests those entering the workforce will have 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38 years old. Surveys suggest that looking for a job is among the top three stressful times in one’s life, right up there with a death in a family and public speaking.
And looking for a job has changed enormously over the past 5 years! Most people 30 and older started their job searches by circling 140 character ads in the classifieds and then started calling those that sounded interesting. Today, when 6 people are trying to get every open position, job seekers have to be experts in Social Media, networking, interviewing and more!
So what can we do to help graduates and alumni?
We think colleges and universities have an enormous opportunity to help students and alumni lead more successful careers by:
- Making it part of their mission to deliver e-Learning career courses on networking, branding, how to find a job, how to use Social Media, interviewing techniques and much more!
- Deliver career services anytime, anywhere, through any device.
- Build stronger connections between faculty, students, alumni and the businesses they work for.
Research supports alumni want this!
In a research project for the American Insurance Administrators and the NEATrust, titled, “Current and Desired Relationship with Your Undergraduate Alma Mater” the Olson Zaltman Associates uncovered that alumni look at their alma mater for help, guidance and/or resources to help them in the transitions of their lives.
Using the patented interview and interpretation technique called the “Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique,” the researchers uncovered that:
- Alumni felt like they were just numbers to the college
- That the college was always asking but never giving value to them
- Alumni wanted the college to continue to provide the education, advice and resources they had as undergrads
The research suggested “Basically, universities must show that they have their alumni’s best interests at heart.” Alumni were looking to their alma mater for help in getting jobs and doing business, as well as help in financial matters like buying a home, car or even retiring. What they were not interested in was the “8 ways to give back to the college.”
Focus on career and jobs!
Take a moment to reflect what your organization is doing to help grads and alumni. Are you:
- Actively connecting alumni with similar interests to help build their professional networks?
- Getting to know who they are and what issues they are dealing with at this point in their lives/careers?
- Offering continued education that meets them where they are today?
More than likely, you don’t have the time to focus on developing strategies to help alumni during all the transitions in their lives, but agreat place to start is by using resources, connections, networks and opportunities to help alumni get jobs, do business and start businesses with each other!
Need some help in figuring this out?
Click here to view how over 100 alumni associations are providing a monthly webinar series to alumni featuring the nation’s top career authors and experts!
Contact us for our white paper “Career Centered College Experience – Integrating a career exploration, planning, strategies and experiential learning within existing curriculum”