Grad Guide

You can get the job done in Houston

Even with a competitive job market and economy, UH graduates have a reason to be optimistic.

“If I were a college graduate looking for a job in Houston — depending on my degree, experience and career goals — I would look at healthcare, software development, sales, financial planning and manufacturing career fields,” said executive director of the University Career Services David Small.

Small said the population is aging and people are more health conscious. There are many career opportunities for cutting edge research and start-up companies in the health fields of bio-engineering and genetics, as well as the more traditional fields.

“I enjoyed my time as an undergraduate at the University of Houston,” said health administration senior Samuel Fanta. “My plans are to take an internship in the health field while continuing to earn my Master’s degree. I think in this time, graduate degrees are becoming more important in the job market.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, Mattress Firm was ranked one of the top mid-size companies to work for in Houston. The company promotes from within and the employees start their career in retail sales for the company’s bedding products.

“The sales market is always receptive to people who can increase the bottom line, and that means sales,” Small said. “The degree is important, but not as much as the interpersonal/communication skills of the job candidate. The job leaves a lot of opportunity for growth within the company.”

The oil and gas industry is another demanding field, with Noah Consulting being ranked in the top 20 of 100 places to work, according to the Houston Business Journal. The company is seeking candidates with data management background and industry experience in oil and gas or energy.

There will also be a tremendous transfer of wealth from one generation to another within the next 25 years for financial planners, Small said. Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000  people per day and there are 74 million of them.

Job candidates must be skilled at estate planning, wills, annuities and investments in general, Small said.

“Earning a degree in finance has helped me to understand the operation of a business, in general,” said business and finance senior Treshaun Meredith.

“Although I plan to attend law school in the next year, I will continue to educate myself in the finance field. I might have my own firm someday and being educated in finance will be a plus.”

According to Small, more than 50 percent of new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. More than 80 percent move back in with their parents upon graduation.

“The average amount of debt for a new grad now exceeds $25,000. Not a pretty picture,” Small said.

“However, much of the problem can be attributed to structural unemployment, that is, there are employers begging for job candidates but there are not enough candidates with the necessary skills.”

The top three career goals for UH graduates should be security and stability, work and life balance and an employer with a social conscience, Small said.

The Houston area has performed better than various job markets during the recession and the population continues to grow.

“I definitely plan to finish my graduate education in Houston,” Meredith said. “The job market in Houston is phenomenal and allows me to sustain stability.”

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