J-School Grads Enter Flatter Market

The job market is stalling for graduates of U.S. journalism and mass communication programs after two years of robust growth.

According to the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates, 2006 grads were no more likely to have a job offer when they finished their studies than graduates a year earlier.

Even by October, about five months after graduation, 2006 grads were no more likely to have landed a full-time job.

“Graduates of U.S. journalism and mass communication programs confronted a weakened job market in 2006 and early 2007,” said study author Lee B. Becker, professor of journalism at the University of Georgia.

The percentage of 2006 journalism and mass communication bachelor’s degree recipients with at least one job offer on graduation was 76%; master’s degree recipients with at least one job offer on graduation was 72%. Both figures were comparable to the previous year.

Hitting bottom after 2000, the number of job offers increased in 2003. For example, the strong national economy in 2000 resulted in 82% of graduates receiving job offers. In comparison, that number fell to 71% in 2001 and bottomed out at 65% in 2003.

Median salaries for full-time workers with undergraduate degrees averaged $30,000, up from $29,000 in 2005. Master’s degree recipients in 2006 reported a median salary of $38,000, up from $37,000 in 2005.

Male students experienced a slightly weaker market. In 2006, 68.7% of the male graduates were employed full-time, down from 74.2% in 2005. The report says, historically, men have had less success in the journalism job market than women.

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Workplace Attitudes

Job satisfaction remains high, as attitudes of journalism and mass communication students toward their work has improved slightly in recent years.

The study shows that 36% of bachelor recipients were very satisfied with their position, keeping steady from last year, but up 15% from two years ago. Those with part-time work reported less satisfaction than those with full-time work.

The percentage of graduates who said they were proud to be working with their current employer held steady in 2006. Organizational commitment remained high, with 75% of the bachelor’s degree recipients saying they were “very” or “moderately” committed to their companies.

About 60% of the bachelor’s degree recipients said their work was “meaningful,” similar to previous years.

The annual survey monitors the job-seeking strategies, employment rates, and salaries of graduates of journalism and mass communication programs in the United States, including Puerto Rico, in the year after graduation.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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