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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Improving job market gives graduates renewed optimism

Published: March 16, 2012
Section: News

With graduation rapidly approaching, many Brandeis seniors are nervously struggling to find jobs post-graduation. Although many began the search last August, pressure comes to an all-time high in the spring.

According to Lisa Lynch, dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, the current unemployment rate for people with higher education is 4.2 percent. Many Brandeis students have heaved a collective sigh of relief, as the low rate means their job searches will be a bit easier. The class of 2012, for example, is facing much more favorable odds than the class of 2009 did when they graduated, when the Great Recession was still wreaking havoc with employment opportunities and patterns.

This economic growth, however, could quickly sour. Lynch told The Hoot that she is “cautiously optimistic that more and more of our students will find more job opportunities.” The implications of the modern economy’s fluctuating nature, however, echo in her words. “If Europe continues to have economic difficulties,” Lynch warned, “this could act as a drag on our growth and this will dampen employers’ hiring behavior.”

Europe is posed on a financial precipice, with the prospect of full-out collapse looming in the distance. Greece, one of the countries hit hardest by the financial crisis, is currently battling to make a series of austerity measures work, and to tame its massive national debt. Most members of the European Union, including major economic powers such as Great Britain, France and Germany are scrambling not only to prevent their markets from plummeting, but to keep the Euro afloat, lest the economies of all E.U. countries take a major hit.

Despite these uncertainties, the low unemployment rate means that American employers and companies are looking for new employees right now—an overall improvement over the past four years, despite the fact that some recent college graduates might have to settle for lower salaries than expected.

The recent growth in the American economy has created a new wave of optimism for people of all ages currently searching the job market for employment opportunities. “The U.S. economy has now turned in three of its strongest months of job growth since the recession began,” a March 9 segment of PBS News Hour stated. Many households in America are finding jobs more readily available and, while the damage from the Great Recession is nowhere near completely repaired, America’s recovery has begun.

Elana L. Givens, associate dean for Career Services at the International Business School, however, believes that graduates should look abroad for job opportunities. She believes Brandeis possesses a “key competitive edge [over] other institutions: true global reach.”
Brandeis currently has students from more than 120 countries studying on campus, according to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). This diversity has been an integral part of the Brandeis community since the school’s founding, and has helped Brandeis to build a network of what Givens describes as “loyal, helpful alumni around the world.”

In addition to the alumni network, Givens stated that the International Business School “offers a course twice per year called ‘Launching Your Global Career,’” which is designed to provide students with the knowledge of how to build a resume, manage a LinkedIn profile, and other essential business and networking techniques.