Job market challenges recent graduates

imageWhile a smaller percentage of SUNY Oswego graduates got full-time jobs as they entered a sputtering job market, the average salary of those who did get jobs continued to rise, according to the latest survey from the Office of Career Services.

The new “Beyond Oswego” report found 83 percent of 2003 graduates either working in full-time jobs or pursuing graduate degrees. Sixty-five percent were employed full time, down from 76 percent the previous year.

But the average first salaries of these employees edged up several hundred dollars to $31,134, largely on the strength of paychecks available in computer and information science and other science-related fields, in jobs from software engineer to research scientist to high school biology teacher.

Teaching salaries remained strong, and education majors as a group took the lead over business majors for highest average salary at $32,358. Ninety-one percent of employed education graduates got their jobs in New York.

The largest share of all employed graduates in the survey, 43 percent, found work right here in Central New York. Seventeen percent went out of state, and 15 percent headed downstate for their first post-college jobs.

The percentage of graduates choosing to attend graduate school rather than enter the work force full time shot up from 12 percent for 2002 graduates to 18 percent for 2003 graduates. “When the job market is depressed, more people tend to go to graduate school,” said Robert Casper, director of career services.

Graduate school was especially popular with students majoring in arts and sciences fields and in education. Only 4 percent of business majors went immediately on to graduate school.

Several science majors entered doctoral programs, from the University of Maryland at College Park to Montana State University. Several history and political science majors chose law school, from Syracuse to California. Other universities enrolling Oswego’s graduates included Columbia, Fordham, Hofstra, Penn State and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Among the graduates reporting the highest salaries were a technical support analyst for Merrill Lynch ($98,000), a professional services director in Charleston, S.C. ($90,000), a global sourcing commodities leader at General Electric ($77,000) and a senior strategic account manager in New York City and a BOCES building coordinator (both $70,000).

At the other end of the spectrum were teachers’ aides and assistants, an office assistant, customer service workers, animal keepers and caretakers, and a radio reporter, all under $20,000.

Casper said the 74 percent response rate for the survey resulted in part from the ability to entice the last respondents with a token reward, an alumni keychain, thanks to support from Auxiliary Services.

- END -

PHOTO CAPTION: Checking careers—Barbara Cohn, left, a junior marketing major at SUNY Oswego, and Amanda Polun, a sophomore marketing and Spanish major, speak to Heather Berg, a recruiting supervisor with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, at the college’s recent Fall Career Fair. The latest survey of SUNY Oswego graduates indicates jobs are less plentiful.

(Posted: Nov 03, 2004)