Grim report on journalism jobs

Everyone knows the job market has been tight for the past couple of years but the latest report on jobs for new journalism grads is  sobering, nonetheless.  Employment levels that hit record lows in the spring of last year appear to have declined even farther as the year went on, according to the annual survey of graduates from the University of Georgia.  Salaries remained unchanged for the fourth year in a row, the report says, and benefits packages got skimpier.

“Stay in school forever,” one 2009 grad advised this year’s class. “It all goes down hill from here.”

How tough is it out there? The perecentage of students who graduated in the spring of 2009 who had at least one job offer dropped by nearly 10 percentage points compared to a year earlier. Less than half the graduates had landed a full-time job by the end of October. And finding work was particularly hard for racial and ethnic minorities; the employment gap was the largest ever recorded.

The pain isn’t spread evenly, however. Print journalism majors had an easier time finding work than broadcast students, the report says, and they made more money. The average starting salary at daily newspapers was $27,000 compared to just $24,900 in television–the lowest-paying of all the sectors surveyed. Advertising and PR jobs were among the highest paid at $31,000 plus, and even radio jobs paid more than TV: $29,000 on average.

Any glimmers of hope? A few. Close to 60% of graduates who reported their employment status in 2010 had found full-time work. Even so, only about half of all 2009 journalism grads who had jobs were actually working in a communications field.