Survey says 2010 grads will face horrible job prospects

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Michigan State University's College Employment Research Institute's latest graduate job outlook is pretty bleak.

This year's college graduates have a mind-boggling 40% fewer job prospects, and jobs for candidates with bachelor's degrees are expected to drop by 1% in 2010.

Eighty percent of employers won't be offering higher starting salaries, and 8% will lower starting pay by an average of 5%. Twelve percent will increase starting pay by an average of just 3%.

Signing bonuses and performance bonuses are also on the decline -- understandable given that there is so little competition to woo recent grads.

Adding to employment woes for recent college graduates is the 10.2% national unemployment rate -- which means that young people will have to compete with older candidates with years of experience and families to feed. As the rising number of unemployed workers cycle through the unemployment system, they'll become increasingly desperate for income, making the situation even worse for recent grads.

So what's a grad to do? One short-term solution may be to pour energy into finding freelance and temp opportunities. Independent contractors often lament the lack of benefits but for young single people, it's just not that important.

You can buy your own health insurance for a few hundred dollars a month. Indeed, young single people who work at full-time jobs with benefits are, in effect, subsidizing their co-workers who have large families and consequently large health insurance costs.

Another idea for recent grads: recognize that the job you work in the crappiest job market in a long, long time might not have a lot to do with your long-term career. If all you can get is an unpaid internship in the field of your choice and find yourself working six nights a week at WalMart to make ends meet, that won't kill you.
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