As the nation’s roughly 2 million college freshmen take the first steps on their career paths, the employment experts at global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., offered some advice on which areas could offer the most fertile employment landscape over the next decade.
“Many freshmen have no idea what career path they want to pursue, relying on a mix of courses in the first year to help point them in the right direction. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it is a good idea to at least be armed with information about where job growth is expected to remain strong in order to make the best decisions about one’s course selections going forward,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
“Those who concentrate on courses related to math, science, engineering and technology, will probably have the widest array of options upon graduation. However, it is vital not to overlook critical coursework in writing, public speaking, and courses that sharpen your critical thinking skills. While technical skills are in high demand, employers across the country consistently lament the lack of writing and communication skills that are essential in any profession one might pursue,” said Challenger.
Indeed, when human resources executives were asked by the Society of Human Resource Management to identify the skills that 2013 graduates were lacking the most, the largest percentage by far pointed to basic writing skills. Nearly half of the HR professionals said last spring’s graduates lacked grammar, spelling and other writing skills. Math, which ranked second in the list of skill deficiencies, was selected by 18 percent of respondents.