May 13, 2024 - News

D.C. is a jobs hotspot for new graduates

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

D.C. is one of the most sought-after job destinations for this year's graduating college seniors, per Handshake, the campus recruitment website.

The big picture: 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, Handshake's data shows.

Why it matters: 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.

Zoom in: Many young people seeking to work for Uncle Sam are targeting tech roles, according to Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake's chief education strategy officer.

  • "The government has increased a lot of their tech hires," she tells Axios.
  • The IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services have been particularly popular among applicants.

There is an urgent interest in AI work in the Beltway, especially in the defense sector, as we've previously covered.

  • That bodes well for tech job seekers who might find added special meaning in working for their government.

Where they're going: D.C. is second behind New York City for the most popular destination for Class of 2024 applicants. D.C. attracted 3% of total applications, while New York City got 9.1%.

Zoom out: After "stability," the top factor influencing this year's grads is location (cited by 75% of students polled by Handshake).

  • Following that were positive employer reputation (72%), high starting salary (71%), flexible schedule (61%), and hybrid work (46%).

Methodology: Opinion data was gleaned from 2,687 students at 616 schools who answered a voluntary online survey from Handshake between March 11-24, 2024.

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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