Class of 2024 Can’t Land Jobs as Hiring in Tech, Finance Wanes


Mikael Rahmani, a senior at Boston University, checks all the boxes: extracurricular activities, good grades, internships. But as the clock ticks toward graduation, he’s struggling to find a job — despite applying to about 15 a week.

It was only a couple years ago that graduating seniors were able to leverage multiple job offers and boost their compensation. But after a pandemic hiring spree, major companies in technology, finance and consulting — top destinations for ambitious students — have been cutting costs and consolidating their workforces.

Rahmani had a full-time offer from HP Inc., where he interned last summer, but he turned it down because he didn’t want to relocate to Houston. Now, he and other college seniors interviewed by Bloomberg News are grappling with a sluggish white-collar job market, where companies navigating an uncertain economy and higher interest-rates have pulled back on entry-level hiring.

“I’m seeing a little bit of a disconnect between my internship prospects last year versus my full-time prospects this year,” said Rahmani, who is studying finance and business analytics.

The issues for new graduates started to pop up last May as layoffs in technology and finance soured their job prospects. And it’s gotten worse. Layoffs have mounted, and fewer employees have been quitting, leaving less room for new hires. University career-service centers say full-time recruitment is eerily quiet. More interns aren’t getting job offers. And start dates for some new hires have been delayed or even rescinded. It’s bad enough that University of Michigan alumni who graduated into the Great Recession were recently asked to speak to current students.

To be sure, the overall labor market has proven resilient in the face of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes to quell inflation. The health care sector, for instance, has created more jobs. But growth in better-paying industries such as technology and financial services has been more uneven. Hiring in both sectors was down more than 20% in November compared to a year ago, according to data from LinkedIn, an employment-focused social media platform.

What’s more, mass layoffs earlier this year have given rise to greater competition. In 2022, there was a job opening for every applicant, according to LinkedIn. Now, there are two applicants for every job.

“The question is what jobs are available?” said Kory Kantenga, a LinkedIn senior economist, noting that many young professionals are concerned about finding a position that matches their skillsets. “Are you going to end up as a barista with a bachelor’s degree?”

This summer, many students began to realize that landing a coveted internship at top companies was not necessarily a guaranteed path to a full-time job offer.

In one example, managers at Apple Inc. told interns they’d be given an update on their conversion to full-time roles in October. But when the month passed with silence, many interns felt ghosted and were left scrambling for interviews late in the recruitment season, according to people familiar with the matter.

“When employers want to shrink down, the easiest way to do it is to freeze hiring. That doesn’t matter all that much to most employees who already have a job,” said Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “So the impact mainly falls on new hires.”

Nicole Jurado, a senior at Miami University in Ohio, said looking for a consulting job has been a “blood bath” this fall. The 21 year old applied to as many as 26 jobs — and made it to late-stage interviews at Deloitte— but is ending the semester empty-handed.

It’s been a shock. She had four internship offers last year, including one at Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. where she spent the summer. But she does have a plan B: grad school. It’s better than settling on a job that “doesn’t live up to my standards,” she said.

While it may not be 2008, today’s job market is a harsh reality check for students who feel they did everything right. Those who have locked in jobs say at times they’ve also felt forced to make compromises. Some class of 2024 students with offers at consulting firms, including, Bain & Company Inc., are having their start dates delayed by months.

Despite the ominous signs, many students, including Jurado, say they’re hopeful they’ll land their dream job.

“This year I’m doing the exact same things, taking the same steps and I have zero offers,” said Jurado. “I’m stubborn. I know what I want and what I deserve. I want to be able to say I’m happy to wake up today and go to my job.”

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