A blonde, white woman stands inside of a Hooters restaurant, wearing a Hooters uniform and smiling at the camera.
Gracie Holmes at her Hooters server job in Atlanta. She returned to work there after not finding full-time work after graduating from college. (Kelsey Henry/Fresh Take Georgia)

Millions of American college graduates are growing increasingly frustrated trying to find full-time employment in their chosen fields. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in December 2023, around 4.8% of new graduates were unemployed, which is higher than the average 4% in the past two years.   

One of the problems graduates encounter is companies requiring years of experience for what are supposed to be entry-level positions. 

“We need the entry-level jobs to get the experience and they’re turning us away,” said Junior Jerome, a 2023 graduate from University of North Georgia who majored in public relations. “I have applied to hundreds of jobs, and out of that, I’ll get two interviews. I’ll go to the interview and they either ghost me after or tell me the position has been filled. The most frustrating part is when I look again and the same posting is up, even though they told me the position was filled.” 

Many new graduates said they are forced to find jobs in fields they did not major in or have an interest in pursuing. However, there are many openings in service positions, including waitressing or hotel staff.

The most difficult jobs to obtain without schooling are in finance and marketing. These are professional fields where a college degree is often required.  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job market is supposedly good right now for graduates who majored in business, education, healthcare, computer science, finance, marketing or engineering. However, these are the exact jobs that graduates are struggling to start their careers in.    

Gracie Holmes is a Georgia State University graduate who majored in marketing, a field allegedly easy for new graduates to find work in. She shares her story below.

T. Martin is a hiring manager for an insurance company in metro Atlanta. Fearing retaliation from his company, he requested his full name and company not be identified.  

“Part of it, yes, we want experience,” Martin said. “When we see an applicant has internships during their time at university, that makes you more qualified. The other part is, we must be kind of picky, because a lot of corporations are experiencing budget cuts and funding issues. Every day you hear about another company having huge layoff numbers.”  

The problem has also taken a huge spot in conversations on social media. Thousands of people have gone viral sharing their experiences with unemployment or losing a job within the first year after graduation. One of these people, Brielle Belly, shared her experience in this TikTok

According to a Robert Half report, hiring for this new year of graduates is predicted to remain steady. Graduates will have to wait and see if their college degrees are enough to get them hired.

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