As the strong labor market gives job seekers the confidence to enter occupations that reflect their interests and values, recent college graduates are expressing more interest in jobs in the arts and social service sectors and less interest in business and finance than they did in the past, according to the results of an analysis of job seeker activity on recruitment website Indeed.

In an article published on April 11 on the Indeed Hiring Lab website, “Today’s Recent College Grads Prioritize Passion Over Pay,” economist Nick Bunker presented an analysis of data from 2018 and 2014 on job seeker interest in various occupations among recent college graduates; defined as workers with a college degree who were between the ages of 22 and 27. Job seeker interest was measured by clicks on postings on the website.

The analysis identified which jobs were getting more attention from recent college graduates by determining which occupations recent graduates were more likely to show an interest in than the average Indeed job seeker. The results showed that new graduates were far more inclined to click on jobs in the broad categories of arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media in 2018 than they were in 2014. Other occupational categories that attracted more interest among recent graduates over the period were community and social services, law, education, training and library, and health care support.

Bunker also noted that a more detailed comparison of job search activity among recent college graduates in 2014 and 2018 confirmed the shift toward arts and entertainment, as graphic designer, film and video editor, writer and author, and photographer were on the list of the top 10 occupations that drew increasing attention from new graduates.

By contrast, Bunker reported, interest among new graduates declined between 2014 and 2018 for occupations in the broad business and finance categories, as well for jobs in production; fishing, farming, and forestry; sales; construction; and extraction. He added, however, these jobs remained relatively popular in 2018, and recent graduates were still more likely than the average job seeker to click on jobs in all but one of the occupations on the list of 10 jobs for which interest declined the most.

“A tighter labor market is giving new job seekers the security to seek out occupations that might be a better fit for them personally,” Bunker said. “This is great news for employers in the arts and social services, but employers hiring for business and financial roles might have to recruit more actively than they did a few years ago.”

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 62, Issue 6

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