Communicaton job employment increases
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Students pursuing a degree in the communication field can now feel motivated due to the improving employment environment for recent mass communication and journalism graduates.
According to a survey conducted by the University of Georgia there has been a moderate increase in communication and journalism graduates who have found full-time employment within six to eight months of graduation.
The employment rate for a communication bachelor’s degree recipient was at 70.2 percent in 2007, but it came crashing down along with the economy. In 2009 the employment rate for media studies graduates was reported at 55.5 percent. Since then it has been increasing modestly to 58.2 percent a year after and to 62.2 percent in 2011.
In December of 2011, Newsweek’s The Daily Beast released a list of the 20 most useless degrees and named journalism as number one. The list was compiled by looking at average income growth and projected change in the number of jobs from 2008 until 2018.
Zita Arocha, senior lecturer in the Department of Communication, said the increase in job prospects is a result of the country’s economy.
“We seem to be turning around and coming out of the recession,” Arocha said. “The media is becoming more comfortable with the economy and are considering hiring again.”
During the recession, media organizations and newspapers were forced to adjust their financial situation, which led to lay-offs and reductions within the workforce, but now that the economy is stabilizing, media organizations have re-organized and are looking to fill new jobs.
Arocha also attributed the hiring increase rate to an explosion of online media outlets, which has sparked employment growth for multimedia journalists, creating opportunities for recent college graduates who possess the new skills.
“Our students are trained and prepared with these multimedia skills,” Arocha said. “It gives them a tremendous advantage for when they graduate and go out to get a job.”
Ernie Chacon, junior multimedia journalism major, is pleased that the recent employment rate for communication graduates is increasing and hopes that it continues to slope upward.
“It is good to know that there will be jobs out there when I graduate,” Chacon said. “It allows me to feel confident, to know that I will be able to exercise the skills I have learned in a career related to my studies.”
Richard Pineda, associate professor of communication, said that communication students can expect this increase of opportunities for the next five to 10 years. He credits the hike to the transformation of journalism.
“Traditional newspapers are diminishing, but they are being replaced with a multimedia style of journalism,” Pineda said. “This is why a program like ours is cutting-edge in terms of changing to adjust to the new advancements.”
The report from the University of Georgia measured the news consumption habits of 2011 graduates and revealed that more students got the news online and that newspapers steadily declined in interests.
Joel Herrera, senior multimedia journalism major, noticed the decline first-hand.
“The last time I picked up a newspaper was when my daughter needed one for a school project,” he said. “I get my news online. It is much easier when you have all the headlines, and what you want to read is only a click away.”
The field of communication has also seen an increase in a diversity of students in the undergraduate level.
“We are starting to see a real change in diversity in the very start of the journalism field,” Pineda said. “Traditionally the stereotype of journalism was that it was an all-boys network. The nature of this is being challenged by a rise in diversity.”
In 2011, women with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and journalism fared better than men in the job market with a 69.7 percent rate of employment, compared to 61.7 percent of male graduates.
Kassandra Grajeda, freshman multimedia journalism major, said she is not surprised with these results.
“We as women are more open and better communicators,” Grajeda said. “Women are taking advantage of the opportunities out there.”
The number of minorities finding work in these fields have also increased. This is a result of the drastic change of demographics in the country, giving more minority communities a voice.
Arocha said that students who have bilingual skills and bi-cultural experiences, such as those at UTEP, in addition the multimedia skills are more appealing to employers.
“I think that the students graduating from UTEP’s Department of Communication with those skills are ready to go, are ready to fly,” Arocha said. “Students need to keep their eye on the prize.”
Guerrero Garcia may be reached at email@example.com.