Editorial: Good timing, Class of 2015

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 14, 2015

Congratulations, college students in the Class of 2015. You were born at the right time.

This is “Pomp and Circumstance” season in Salisbury. Livingstone College held its graduation May 2, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will hold commencement Friday, and both Hood Theological Seminary and Catawba College will give out diplomas this Saturday.

The promising job market for new college grads should infuse this year’s commencement exercises with excitement.  A recruiting trends survey from Michigan State University says hiring for people with bachelor’s degrees is expected to increase 16 percent this academic year.

That’s quite a contrast to the market that graduates found during and immediately after the recession.

In 2015, baby boomers are retiring at a rapid rate; many companies that held staffing down through the recession are ready to hire again. And the economy is moving in a positive direction. All that adds up to job openings for fresh grads.

Still, new degree holders will need patience and preparation to land jobs. The top skills employers are looking for? According to employers who responded to the CareerBuilder survey, they are people skills, problem-solving, oral communication skills, leadership and written communication skills.

Where are the jobs? According to the Michigan survey, sectors that expect double-digit growth in hiring include nonprofits; manufacturing; government; professional, business and scientific services; finance and insurance; and information services. Geographically, the jobs may be far away. Forbes says job growth is greatest in North Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Florida.

Whatever their destinations, graduates can leave campus with their heads held high. They have earned a valuable asset — a college degree. To some people, a diploma is just a piece of paper. However, graduates, you’ll encounter people in your lives who would give anything to have had that opportunity. You had both the opportunity to go to college and the perseverance to stick it out and graduate. Congratulations. Now life really begins.