May 13, 2024 - News

Houston loses luster for college grads

A bar chart showing the change in the share of new grads applying to jobs in select cities, 2023 to 2024. New York City saw the largest increase in applicant share, up 1.35 percentage points to a total of 9.1% in 2024. Other top gainers were Texas City, Salt Lake City, and Boise. The biggest loser was Atlanta, losing 0.46 percentage points.
Data: Handshake; Chart: Axios Visuals

The class of 2024 is not too interested in moving to Houston, apparently.

Why it matters: More of this year's graduating college seniors are seeking the security of a government job, and fewer are applying to risky-seeming tech jobs, per campus recruitment website Handshake.

  • The class of 2024 — which Axios has dubbed "the bummer generation" because of how COVID-19 warped the seminal events of their young lives — just wants stability and a comfortable income, thank you.

Driving the news: Houston was among the cities that experienced the largest declines in the share of job applications from 2023 to 2024.

What they found: Job security, work-life balance, and the ability to live near family and friends are the top considerations for the class of 2024, Handshake's opinion survey and job applications data show.

Between the lines: Job growth was expected to slow down in Houston this year.

  • Metro Houston created 1,100 jobs in March. This marks one of the weakest job-growth months in the past 30 years, per the Greater Houston Partnership's analysis.

Where they're going: New York City is the most popular destination for class of 2024 applicants, attracting 9.1% of total applications — up from 8% last year.

  • Washington, D.C.; Texas City; Salt Lake City; and Boise, Idaho, also saw large increases in the share of job applications.
  • Dallas, Seattle, Denver and Atlanta saw the biggest decreases.

What they're saying: Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake's chief education strategy officer, tells Axios this year's college seniors have "had to be nimble, adaptable and gritty. I'm not surprised they're looking for something a bit more stable."

Methodology: Opinion data was gleaned from 2,687 students from 616 schools who answered a voluntary online survey from Handshake between March 11-24.

Editor's note: The chart in this story has been corrected to reflect that the location data is based on job applications submitted by 2023 and 2024 graduates on Handshake (not from 2024 graduate survey data).


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