As graduation nears, college seniors are basking in a heady sense of optimism. But when the festivities end and the hangover subsides, the class of 2015 should prepare for disappointment. Soon-to-be graduates’ job expectations don’t match the tough reality many of their former classmates experience in today’s punishing labor market, a poll released Tuesday by management consulting firm Accenture indicates.
More than two-thirds of soon-to-be college grads expect full-time employment, but barely half of respondents from the classes of 2013 and 2014 -- just 52 percent -- are currently employed full time. And while 90 percent of the 2015 graduating class expects to work in their field of study, only 64 percent of recent grads have been able to do so.
Graduates this year would do well to temper their salary expectations, too: More than a quarter say they expect to earn more than $50,000, but only 17 percent of graduates from the last two years actually make that much. Likewise, just 15 percent of this year’s class anticipates earning $25,000 or less, but 41 percent of recent grads say they currently fall into that income bracket.
The poll shed light on other views shared by students on the cusp of the labor market: Acceptance of the internship as a postgraduate institution -- rather than a pre-graduation gig -- and a general distaste for corporate environments. Nine percent of 2015 graduates say they expect to be working internships; only 15 percent say they want to work at a “large, corporate” company.
Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed say they'll graduate with as much as $50,000 in debt. Thirteen percent say they have debt of $50,000 to $200,000.
A separate Pew study released earlier this week found that Millennials, or adults aged 18-34 in 2015, are now the largest generation in the labor market.