Data published in October by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the national unemployment rate had decreased to 3.5 percent, matching August of this year for the lowest percentage in 50 years.
Considering the unemployment strife just two years ago, when rates reached all-time highs during the first months of the pandemic, setting records on the other end is seemingly indicative of a growing workforce in the U.S.
So are the 10.1 million extra job openings included within the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest employment report.
However, despite reports that there are two job openings per unemployed person in the U.S., recent college graduates continue to struggle to find work.
Following a summer marked by rising inflation rates and labor conversations including The Great Resignation and other separation phenomena including quiet quitting and quiet firing, an experiment conducted by Business.com has revealed just how difficult it is for even the most qualified applicants to secure so much as a job interview.
Over a 10-week period spanning June, July and August 2022, a group of four Business.com interns—equipped with degrees from accredited American universities and previous internship experience—submitted 311 job applications on LinkedIn, Indeed and other employment websites.
Seventeen applications garnered interest from employers and 22 were met with notices that positions had already been filled.
The other 272 went unanswered entirely.
Ryan McGonagill, Business.com’s director of industry research, credits this glaring lack of response to a disconnect between employers and prospective entry-level employees, as well as the growing presence of technology and artificial intelligence throughout the hiring landscape.
“We’ve talked about this for years,” McGonagill told Newsweek. “You see these entry level jobs and then you scroll down and you see that they want four-to-seven years of experience.
“There’s a disconnect between the entry level and the experience they want, and the rise of these platforms that use A.I. or keyword matching to pull you through an algorithm and determine your fit,” McGonagill continued. “That’s beneficial in terms of saving time, but it doesn’t necessarily allow you to evaluate a candidate holistically.
McGonagill also told Newsweek that this year’s intern class at Business.com was, “by all means, super-qualified,” having previously held multiple internships, high grade point averages and above-average levels of community involvement.
“They still struggled,” McGonagill said.
Last year, the share of the U.S. population living in multigenerational homes, defined by Pew Research Center as “including two or more adult generations,” was 18 percent.
After consecutive decades of decline, that figure stands out, especially compared to the 7 percent of Americans living in multigenerational homes in the 1970s.
The No. 1 reason for that increase, according to Pew Research Center, was financial issues—often a result of joblessness.
There is a longstanding belief that a college degree, internship experience and other extracurriculars are all pieces of a puzzle guaranteeing gainful, well-paying employment.
And according to recent employment data, Americans older than 25 who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher are unemployed less frequently than other demographics.
But recent college graduates, as well as young adults entering their final semesters, are in a much different position, no matter how qualified they are.
Although 88 percent of all job applications submitted as part of the Business.com experiment received no response, an even larger number—91 percent—of applications meeting 90 percent of employers’ desired qualifications went unanswered.
McGonagill, whose research revealed that submission timing and in-person availability can boost an applicant’s chances at hearing back from an employer, told Newsweek that while repeated rejections can sometimes push candidates to fabricate resumes and cover letters, authenticity should remain the top priority for young adults entering the workforce.
“As companies focus on culture and diversity and inclusion … I think that applicants have to be really, really honest from the get go on who they are, and what they want,” McGonagill said.
Authenticity, however, is a two-way street.
“Interviewing for a job,” McGonagill said, “[is] like dating … you’re not married yet, you’re trying to see if it’s going to work.
“You’re both going to be unhappy if you’re not honest upfront about what you need, [about] what your expectations are,” McGonagill added. “That pertains to things like … salary or benefits … because at the end of the day, you want to make sure it’s a mutual benefit.”
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