The Young & The Jobless

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

In “What I Did When I Couldn’t Find a Job,” Fordham University alumnus Andrew Dana Hudson reflects on the economic decisions which prompted him to move to India post-graduation.

“I couldn’t find a job, but neither could anyone I knew,” writes Hudson for the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Now, more than a year after graduation, most of my college friends still live at home, and many of those who have moved out are borrowing money from their parents to eat and pay rent.”

“Some are applying to grad school just to have something to do, but the prospect of racking up thousands more dollars in student debt is crushing,” he writes. “The rest are still looking, sending out résumés, going to career fairs, volunteering for experience, and networking.”

Some have given up, he argues. “… We are a whole generation graduating into a job market that has no room for us.”

According to his article, Hudson studied abroad in India two years earlier, and after graduation he approached a contact in India, got an offer, and moved there for an “informal” job.

“My arrangement with [Sikkim] NOW is informal,” he writes, continuing,

“I help out doing a little photography, a little feature writing, and a lot of copy editing. Native-level English proficiency is a rare skill in much of the developing world. I take garbled press releases from local non[-]governmental organizations and government departments, and equally garbled correspondent reports from remote districts of the state, and fix the punctuation, syntax, usage, and spelling to turn them into real news stories.”

“In exchange for my work, Pema [editor and publisher of NOW], found me a flat to stay in and arranged for my meals.”

“The cost of living here is so cheap that, with my room and board taken care of, I can live comfortably on around $10 a week,” writes Hudson. “If I were back in the United States, even with the most austere lifestyle, I would be costing my family far more than that by just eating their groceries, running their utilities, and burning their gas.”

“If things don’t work out in the States, I’ll go back to a place where I can live cheaply and make my savings last.”

Hudson’s byline indicates that he studied political science.

However, if CNN Money’s reporting from April is any indication, the liberal arts are probably not the best field in the U.S. right now when compared to science degrees. “Last year’s graduates had a tougher time landing jobs, but starting salaries only slipped 1.2% compared with 2008 graduates, said NACE employment information manager Andrea Koncz,” reported Hibah Yousuf this April. This data came from the Spring 2010 Salary Survey results.

The average initial pay offers for “students seeking liberal arts degrees” are “down 8.9% at $33,540, based on data collected from college and university career services offices for students earning bachelor’s degrees across 70 disciplines,” he wrote.

In July NACE released their Summer Salary Survey results. “As a group, engineering majors have consistently posted increases to their average salary offers, and seemingly have been immune to negative economic effects,” states the NACE website. “During the 2008 reporting year, their increases ranged between 5 and 7 percent, and, even as the economy fell, they continued to enjoy increases ranging from 2 to 4 percent during the 2009 reporting year,” it states. “This year, that has changed, and, as a group, engineering grads now average $58,970—a 0.5 percent decrease.”

The average 2009 unemployment rate for persons with a bachelors degree, ages 25-30, was 5.2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recent graduates, however, fared worse, according to BLS. “Among the educational attainment categories, unemployment rates for youth not in school were highest for those without a high school diploma—31.8 percent for young men and 31.0 percent for young women in October 2009,” states an April 2010 BLS press release.  “In contrast, the jobless rates for young male and female college graduates were 13.6 and 6.5 percent, respectively.”

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.