Indeed: Recent College Grads Prefer Arts, Entertainment Over Business, Finance

New Grads Don't Care So Much About Money

Today’s new grads are increasingly following their passions over a lucrative paycheck, according to a new survey by Using Indeed data, jobs being clicked the most by recent graduates today fall into more art, media, and social services compared to four years ago, when the economy wasn’t as robust.

Indeed economist Nick Bunker reveals today’s tight labor market is giving recent graduates more confidence, allowing them to look for work that gives them personal fulfillment rather than following a more traditional path. When compared to grads from four years ago, today’s graduates are predominantly looking at job opportunities in graphic design, film editing, and writing. Social work is particularly popular as well.

Here’s the Top 10 list:

  1. Graphic Designers
  2. Industrial Engineers
  3. Film and Video Editors
  4. Psychiatric Technicians
  5. Marriage and Family Therapists
  6. Art, Drama and Music Teachers (Post Secondary Education)
  7. Writers and Authors
  8. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors
  9. Photographers
  10. Child, Family, and School Social Workers

Indeed found today’s graduates are also less interested in business and financial operations jobs than they were four years ago. When the economy was weaker, recent grads were more drawn to jobs that promised security.

Nick Bunker of Indeed
Indeed Economist Nick Bunker

Today, however, grads have more opportunities to choose something other than jobs on a more traditional path. For example, actuaries, economists, and nuclear engineers are getting less attention from today’s recent graduates.

“A decade ago, recent college graduates faced a labor market still in the throes of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” wrote Bunker. “Things couldn’t look more different for the Class of 2019. Today’s job market looks more like the heyday of the late 1990s, the last time the job outlook was as strong.”

That eventually ended in recession, but for now times are good for the touchy-feely jobs, though not so much for a lot of other opportunities.

Here’s the list of occupations quickly losing favor in today’s highly competitive market:

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  1. Radiation Therapist
  2. Statisticians
  3. Statistical Assistants
  4. Speech-Language Pathologists
  5. Economists
  6. Actuaries
  7. Sales
  8. Dietitians and Nutritionists
  9. Foresters
  10. Nuclear Engineers

“These new grads feel free to look for the types of work they enjoy, but might have passed up in a weaker economy,” wrote Bunker. “The fact that today’s grads are seeking out occupations that might be a better fit for them personally doesn’t mean that they aren’t concerned about future pay prospects. But, for some, high pay isn’t as important now as personal fulfillment.”

Of course, for companies hiring workers in the arts and social services, this trend is great news. However, employers who need to fill number-crunching positions should know that some of these jobs have lost their shine. Recruiters in these industries will have to work harder to elicit interest, according to Indeed data.

Parents need not fret, however. Indeed says annual salaries for such touchy-feely jobs don’t necessarily translate into a pauper’s existence. The occupation that gained the most interest from grads is graphic designer, where the typical worker makes $48,700 per year. Moreover, the median film and video editor makes $61,180 annually.

That’ll still buy a lot of beer.

Indeed defines a recent college graduate as a worker with a college degree between the ages of 22 and 27. They only included occupations and occupational groups for which we had at least 1,000 annual observations. Calculations were made between 2014-18. Click here for more on the methodology.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.