Try it. Who knows, you may even like it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Regarding job opportunities for recent graduates

By Dick Hirsch
Although I’m not now in the market for a new job, at this time of the year it’s always interesting to familiarize yourself with the opportunities being offered to graduating college seniors.
I’ve just reviewed a brief list of some of the most promising prospects among entry level positions in the current job market, and it prompted an ambivalent reaction. On the one hand, I’m pleased that there seem to be such good opportunities in what is widely regarded as a difficult economy.
On the other hand, it’s discouraging to find that there are so many good possibilities for those who can very confidently add columns of figures, compute percentages in their heads, and enjoy the intricacies generally associated with that side of the brain associated with dismal mathematical specialties.
I know that economics has been called the dismal science, but for me, it was always math, starting with long division and proceeding through algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. I was hoping there would be some signs of progress for those persons, such as myself, who could write a complete paragraph without strain, or compose a sales letter that has an enthusiastic timbre that is obvious to the recipients.
But, no, I saw nothing to encourage any students who prefer words to numbers, except, perhaps, a teaching job, which had by far the lowest starting salary. Anyone who reads the papers knows that teachers are doing much better these days, and the comment about teaching noted: “The work can be very rewarding and can offer great retirement benefits.” Who among the graduates is thinking about retirement benefits at the age of 21? It adds: “Continue your education to the masters or doctorate level and watch your pay grow!”
In addition to teaching, the list contained eight other occupational areas, with a brief comment on each job sector and an approximate salary range. Those numbers always overcome me with a melancholy feeling because if someone had been willing to pay me that much money when I had just received my diploma, I would have been very suspicious of their motives. I also would not have known what to do with the money. I was delighted to be paid $84 a week in my first full time job, especially when my pay had been $45 the summer before as an intern.
From my current vantage point, my view of that pay scale remains the same now as it was then. I was a bargain. In fact, no bragging intended, I’ve always been a bargain.
On the way to the office today, I stopped to fill up my tank. Need I report that it cost me $45, which was more than any of us could have afforded in those days? It is more than many of us can afford now. Fewer people are filling up today, according to a friend of mine in the retail gasoline business. They are buying ten or fifteen dollars worth of gas; it won’t get them that far, but instead of driving to their favorite pizza parlor, they’ll adjust and try the neighborhood place.
The list enumerates a number of areas of opportunity. The one that I find most compelling is simply called “Consulting.” That attracted me for two reasons: First, it is the highest paying prospect on the short list, and next, what kind of advice can an employer expect to get from a consultant who has just finished taking his final exams? The average starting salary is listed at $50,460, and interested grads are advised as follows: “This is another area where your degree or emphasis can lead to a rewarding career in a variety of areas. For instance, a bachelor’s degree in Health Administration can put you on the road to a successful career in health care consulting.”
That may be an accurate statement. Most people would agree that the health care system needs improvement, so perhaps it can use another consultant. As my old friend, George, once explained to me, “A consultant is a man who, when you ask him the time, he looks at your watch, tells you the time, and then sends you a bill.”
The other job areas are: private accounting, public accounting, financial/treasury analysis, design/construction engineering, project engineering, sales, and management trainee. The salaries are in the mid-40s, except for the sales person and the trainee, with the starting point around $38,000.
Polish up those resumes, guys and gals. Gosh, when I grow up I think I’ll be a consultant.


Post a Comment

<< Home