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Report: Job Prospects Better for California College Grads

PHOTO: California ranks eighth among states as a promising online job market for positions that require college degrees, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Photo credit: Chris Thomas
PHOTO: California ranks eighth among states as a promising online job market for positions that require college degrees, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Photo credit: Chris Thomas
March 30, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - More than half of the online job postings in California are for positions that require at least a four-year college degree – and a new report says it matters a lot what type of degree.

Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed online job ads by state to see which career fields are the most promising and says one-third of California job postings are for managerial and professional occupations.

Dr. Tony Carnevale, lead author of the report and center director, describes California as a "new economy" state that is showing a solid recovery from the recession.

"It has a mix of college-level jobs that include the technical, but also include a whole set of jobs which we've come to call business services," he says. "Managerial and professional skills are required in the production of any kind of goods or service nowadays."

Carnevale says the most California college-level job listings are for software and application developers, wholesale and manufacturing positions, and sales reps. He explains today, many salespeople are expected to be experts on the medical or technical products they sell, so degrees often are required.

According to the report, the fastest-growing industry sector for California college grads is leisure and hospitality services, growing 30 percent in the last few years. Carnevale says that doesn't mean waiting tables and washing dishes, it means managing restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities.

"It's been a big growth area for a very long time," says Carnevale. "What is distinctive about it is that it is very cyclical - it is one of the ones that goes down hard, and comes back fast as the economy recovers."

He says the report underscores the need to go to college to get a good job, but what may be different now than in past decades is, it isn't enough to simply get a degree. It has to be relevant to the field of work.

"The texture of what employers are looking for is changing, in the sense that they're much more focused on specialization and degree specialization," Carnevale says. "They care what you majored in in college, as much as they care whether or not you went."

Jobs in engineering and health-care fields figured prominently in online ads across the country.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - CA