Architecture Grads Enter the World of Unemployment

hire me please

The completion of a university degree signifies the start of a lifetime as a professional. With the high cost of tuition in most countries worldwide, students – and more often than not, their parents – wager the high cost of study will even out after they graduate.

That may not be the case.

In a recent study undertaken by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in the US, it was found that graduates with a bachelor’s degree in the arts, humanities and architecture were significantly less likely to find employment.

Strongly reflecting the construction and design sector’s unstable clime, architecture graduates will face the most challenges in finding employment, with 13.9 per cent struggling to find work straight out of college.

The areas of study that saw the lowest rate of post-graduation unemployment were health, education and agriculture and natural resources, with those with business and engineering degrees also able to find employment easier than their architect counterparts.

It seems the luxury of choosing a job that is also a personal passion is simply that: a luxury. According to one of the study’s authors, Anthony P. Carnevale, for young grads, chasing the dollar is becoming more important than chasing a dream.

“People keep telling kids to study what they love — but some loves are worth more than others,” said Carnevale. “When people talk about college, there are all these high-minded ideas about it making people better citizens and participating fully in the life of their times. All that’s true, but go talk to the unemployed about that.”

Architecture unemployment rates should not come as a surprise to those in the US industry. Still in bad shape after the disastrous 2009 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), architecture’s strong links to the almost collapsed construction industry are visibly dragging the sector’s employment rates down.

Graduating with a master’s degree in architecture from the Catholic University of America, Valerie Berstene told the Washington Post of the bleak outlook she faces in trying to gain employment.

“It’s slim pickings out there, that’s for sure,” she said. “It’s challenging in ways that I never anticipated.”

However, it seems passion for the sector will keep university classes full, with the architecture grad admitting she will continue trying for a position with a firm.

“If I left for another field, I would miss architecture too much,” said Bertene.

It seems that until economic stability is found, the architectural situation in the US will remain at best challenging.

By Emily D’Alterio
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