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College Students Continue to Believe Their Major Determines Job Prospects Despite Increasing Employer Focus on Skills

November 20, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Analysis of a Handshake survey of 1,000 college students and hiring data from employers using Handshake Premium, who have the ability to proactively engage job candidates by targeting different qualifications and attributes, reveals new insights about the early talent landscape. While 81.5% of students place outsized importance on major selection, believing it is a key determinant of their future job prospects, over the past year, only 50% of Premium employers on the Handshake platform specified a major requirement for job listings.

The Handshake study also found that the majority of students (61.2%) feel pressured to choose a major that they believe will result in a high-paying job, and that 62.9% of students would take the first job they were offered because they need the money.

“The overemphasis on the relationship between major and career prospects is outdated and needs to be reevaluated,” said Christine Cruzvergara, Vice President of Higher Education and Student Success at Handshake. “To succeed in finding meaningful and satisfying careers post-graduation, students should shift to developing a new mindset. They should focus on developing skills including the ability to synthesize information, think critically, and communicate well, which will serve them both in college and beyond.”

The data reveals differing motivators between sections of student populations surveyed, including by gender and major.

College Majors Continue to Reflect Gender Imbalance
Gender-based differences continue to reveal themselves through the majors students pursue and what they think about their future job prospects.

Students Motivations and Expectations Differ Between Different Major Groups
Data reveals that groups of students pursuing different majors in business, fine arts, humanities, engineering, sciences, and social sciences have widely varying motivations and expectations.

To learn more about how Handshake is democratizing opportunities for students and connecting employers to up-and-coming talent across the U.S.,visit joinhandshake.com.

ABOUT HANDSHAKE
Handshake is the leading career community for college students in America. Today, the Handshake community includes 17 million students and young alumni at over 900 universities - including 120+ minority-serving institutions. We connect up-and-coming talent across all 50 states with 400,000+ employers recruiting on Handshake - from every Fortune 500 company to thousands of small businesses, nonprofits, startups, and more. Handshake is democratizing opportunity and ensuring college students have the support they need to find to find a great job and kick-off a meaningful career regardless of where they go to school, what they choose as a major, and who they know.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
The online survey of 1,004 US college students, primarily targeting 16-24 years, was conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Handshake, between October 17th and October 22nd, 2019. Propeller Insights strives to achieve statistically significant sample that meets the industry standard of a 95 percent confidence level and a 5-percentage margin of error, based on the population being represented for all online quantitative surveys. We work with the leading online sample providers, and the sources we use are based on the project requirements/target, as well as sample size and incidence rate.

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SOURCE Handshake