Just when you thought the employment picture for recent grads couldn’t get any worse. A report out today shows that students are increasingly having trouble landing internships — making the experience gap between recent grads and older workers even more pronounced.
Fifty percent of employers haven’t hired any interns in the past six months, according to a survey of 225 employers by the Boston-based Gen-Y consulting firm Millennial Branding, using data from career-services operator Experience Inc. The survey also shows that 91 percent of those employers think that students should have between one and two internships before they graduate.
What’s more, a study out last week from Rutgers University notes that of those who graduated from college between 2006 and 2011, only half are now working full time.
After these reports, one could find it hard to stay positive about life post school. But rather than become despondent and embittered — or even take a job that won’t help you acquire any professional skills — some experts suggest starting up a business may be a more palatable career alternative.
Among others, Karen Mills the head of the Small Business Administration recently extolled the benefits of entrepreneurship in a Twitter chat with students. And Scott Gerber of the Young Entrepreneur Council even started a campaign called #FixYoungAmerica to highlight the issue.
Indeed, entrepreneurship can be a worthy alternative for many recent grads, says Jeff Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. In particular, he points to the low barriers to entry these days. In addition to inexpensive technology, younger entrepreneurs’ personal overhead — that is, what they need to earn to cover their living expenses — may still be low, as they’ve just spent four years eating day-old pizza and cereal for dinner.
Cornwall adds that “the biggest expense for most small startups is the owners’ salary.” Maintaining a Spartan lifestyle can enable young entrepreneurs to offer more competitive prices — which, he says, is key to creating value in a weak economy.
Keeping your expenses low will have another effect: Should you want to, you can walk away without much of a downside, says Cornwall. “After that, they can start another business using the experience they gained from the first business or leverage that experience to land a job.”
And if you’re still not convinced that entrepreneurship can be a keen career choice, consider this: According to the same Millennial Branding survey, nearly 30 percent of employers are actually seeking candidates with entrepreneurial experience.
Would you hire a former entrepreneur for your team? Leave a comment and let us know why or why not.
Should you follow YoungEntrepreneur.com on Twitter? Absolutely.