Jobs report promising for Florida graduates

It may be difficult for college students to predict exactly where their degrees will land them, but new data released by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) is telling students just that.

Last Wednesday, the BOG released a data report that will help Florida students see exactly how far their degree might take them.

Though they were only able to trace 86 percent of Florida’s 2012 graduating class of 56,161, the data showed that 67 percent of the graduates held full-time jobs, 9 percent pursued further education and 24 percent worked while enrolled in further education.

While this broadly encompasses all Florida institutions, Paul Dosal, USF vice provost for student success, believes that within this data, USF has been very successful at preparing students for their post-graduation plans. However, he still thinks the university can do better.

“I want to make sure we’re placing students in the job that’s in the career of their choice, at a good starting salary and that they’re satisfied with their experience at USF,” Dosal said. “We’re not satisfied with where we are; we want to do better in so many other (areas).”

Among the majors with the highest percentage of full-time employment for bachelor’s degree recipients were graduates in education, engineering technicians, and computer and information sciences. The lowest percentage corresponded to biological sciences, language and linguistics, and physical sciences.

It was a self reported study and the BOG said the missing data does not suggest the 8,063 graduates unaccounted for were unemployed or not enrolled in further education. These students are assumed to be out of state and were not able to be tracked.

USF extends many opportunities for employability to students through job fairs, Employ-A-Bull’s interview stream feature in which students can participate in mock virtual interviews, and Career Express, where students can have their resumes critiqued by peers in Career Services, said Russ Coughenour, assistant vice president for Career Services at USF.

Coughenour said the large number of companies that participated in the job fair from Sept. 23 to 25 (95 on the first day alone) served as an indicator of USF’s visibility in the workforce.

“It’s a competitive landscape and I think that it’s critically important for Florida’s economy to keep working toward job generation,” Coughenour said. “Right now, I believe the jobs for entry-level candidates are very good.”

Coughenour said some people are discouraged when they see the overall job market isn’t doing well, even though the market for entry-level jobs, jobs offered to students right out of college, might be very strong.

While the report might provide good news for some graduating seniors, the versatility of the workforce makes it difficult to predict the results for years to come. Coughenour said the elections in November will heavily affect job outcomes for graduating students.

“Right now it looks to me like things are in very good shape,” he said. “I think that (next year) we will meet or exceed the numbers that were recorded this past time.”