Things are looking up for spring season college graduands as the entry level job market peaks this year. The class will be entering the job market with a strong entry-level hiring market, strongest it has been in years especially in industries comprised of an aging workforce and retiring baby boomers. However, concerns have been raised about the levels of underemployment among college graduates.
What Causes Underemployment at Entry Level?
According to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation, organization’s insistence on four-year college degrees as a qualification even for entry level positions as well as the high competition at the entry level job market are the leading causes of underemployment. These are not the only problems at the entry level hiring market, though. Recruiting and hiring procedures at entry level job market are bursting with inefficiencies, this applies in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Hiring Processes Highly Inefficient At This Level
Inefficiency is the major driving force vis-à-vis underemployment at the entry level job market. Data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics and ADP shows that in the last two years, companies with a workforce of 500 or fewer employees have been responsible for creating more than 70% of new jobs in the market. Companies with between 100-1000 employees take up the largest portion of fresh talent in the job market. However, these companies lack the scope and scale to validate the staffing for entry-level employees.
At the same time, despite their overwhelming desire to work in these kinds of businesses, career ready graduates often have a hard time finding small and medium sized firms to employ them. The two keep missing each other, mostly due to the fact that most of these companies hire for experience, not skill. Additionally, fresh college graduates keep applying for the wrong positions as they don’t know which job openings fit their skills.
Lack of Experience
Adding experience as a prerequisite for candidates applying for an open position is a major hindrance for fresh out of college applicants. Industry or work experience is limited among college graduates, and rather than focus on that, companies looking to hire at entry level should be clear on the skills they require in their job descriptions.
Some employers who are seeking to hire at entry level choose to go beyond a college degree and require soft skills — focus, collaboration, communication, and leadership — among the candidates. When applying for these positions, job seekers need to change their approach on how they market their transferable skills during a job interview. They should consider how and when they have used these skills whether in retail service positions, non-professional jobs like restaurants, extra-curricular activities or in class.
Lack of Critical Industry Knowledge
Job seekers at entry level positions also lack knowledge on the impact democratic shifts have on the job market hence don’t know what industries are hiring at this level. Taking into account the impending loss of baby boomers in the workforce, companies in manufacturing, insurance, logistics, healthcare and other industries with high-age profiles should be recruiting at entry level now. The combination of all the above factors largely contributes to inefficiency in the entry level hiring market leading to underemployment.
However, there may be a silver lining at the entry level job market. If emerging wave of change in the recruiting and hiring scene is anything to go by, the current state of events is about to change. We will see more efficient hiring processes at entry level very soon. Graduates are employers are both taking the necessary steps to restore balance the entry level job market balance.
Graduates are taking a more proactive approach to showing their non-professional work experience and soft skills. Companies, on the other hand, are starting to see the importance of filling key entry level positions with fresh graduates regardless of their work experience or degree. This will lead to efficiency in the hiring and recruitment procedures which will, in turn, lead to a drop in the high level of underemployment in the entry-level job market. Underemployment also contributes to low productivity, and putting underemployed employees in the right positions can reverse that.