In one of our most recent blogs, Top Paying Undergraduate Majors, we looked at which undergraduate majors yielded the highest income long-term and for new hires. In the current employment environment, however, it has been difficult for many students to find a job post graduation. You may have heard on the news in the US – or around the world – that youth unemployment is particularly high. In Spain, for example, 49% of young people under 25 were unemployed at the end of 2011. In Italy, that number was 49% and in the United States that number was approximately 20%.
According to the most recent hiring statistics, the hardest hit demographic to find a job after graduating is international students who have visa restrictions on employment. Degree-seeking international students typically come to the US under a F-1 international student visa which allow students to work under “Optional Practical Training” status up to one year.
If a company wants to hire an international student long-term, the employer will need to apply for a H1B work visa which allows individuals to work for three years and they can renew the visa for another three years. Because students must be working in a field related to their studies, there are top majors that are likely to get you hired compared to others. This sponsorship process requires students to be highly competitive in their industry with skills that standout among other applicants. Furthermore, this process can be quite expensive for employers so typically larger companies, such as banks and consulting firms, are able to hire and support international students.
With visa restrictions and high unemployment, there is recent data that ties your major to your ability to get hired. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Best College Major to Career, your major has a direct impact on your employability. Here are the top 10 lowest unemployment rates based on major:
|Undergraduate Major||Unemployment Percent|
|Educational Administration and Supervision||0.0%|
|School Student Counseling||0.0%|
|Geological and Geophysical Engineering||0.0%|
|Astronomy and Astrophysics||0.0%|
|Medical Technologies Technicians||1.4%|
|Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology||1.6%|
We have also took the majors with the highest income in our previous blog and ranked them according to the lowest unemployment rates:
|Undergraduate Major||Unemployment Percentage|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||3.8%|
|Management Information Systems (MIS)||4.2%|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||4.9%|
|Electrical Engineering (EE)||5.0%|
|Computer Science (CS)||5.6%|
|Industrial Engineering (IE)||5.6%|
|Biomedical Engineering (BME)||5.9%|
|Computer Engineering (CE)||7.0%|
|Materials Science & Engineering||7.7%|
While there are top majors that are likely to get you hired, there are other factors that can influence your employment as an international student. Being at the right place at the right time as well as networking and your relationships can make it easier for you to find a job upon graduation.
Many colleges and universities offer resources, like a Career Center, that can give you the right tools and exposure to secure a job in the United States. While this process can be difficult, it is important to think long-term and consider your major, involvement, networking, and internship decisions if you are considering job prospects in the US.