The Least Marketable Degrees

There are so many marvelous websites out there that when I discover a new one I like to share it with my readers.  This one is called Connecting Learning to Life and it is from the West Fargo High School Career Center Blog

Where should educators direct students in light of the current recession/depression?  Unemployment rates are at a 14-year high and predictions are that it will last at least to 2010.

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Part II —

By Christina Couch

Print journalism

A great job if you don’t need a paycheck. With physical newspapers quickly becoming a thing of the past and magazines dropping like flies, even established journalists with impressive credentials are struggling to survive. reports that the median salary for veteran journalists with 20 or more years of experience hovers at $49,000 — more than $10,000 less than the salary that the average computer science major starts with.

Experts predict that 2009 will see more print and television media closures than did 2008, with rumored layoffs planned by media giants including NBC Universal, Viacom Inc., the Tribune Co., the New York Times Co., and Knight Ridder.


As media outlets sink and retail markets contract, they’re taking advertisers with them. The global communications strategy firm Zenith Optimedia estimates that ad spending in North America will fall 5.7 percent in 2009, meaning more unpaid internships and fewer entry-level positions.

With layoffs expected in three of the largest ad holding companies — Interpublic, Omnicom and WPP — 2009 grads will have to fight for their first jobs.

No budget for new construction means no budget for those designing new buildings. Requiring hefty tuition investment (usually four years of undergrad education plus one to two of grad school) for a starting salary that begins in the upper 30s, architecture was one of the riskier degrees even before the recession.

The recent housing market decline has taken new architect jobs with it. According to the American Institute of Architects, billings for architectural projects nationwide reached an all-time low in December 2008 for the second consecutive month, suggesting that industrywide hiring freezes won’t let up anytime soon.

Real estate

With one in seven homeowners losing equity on their homes (per the most recent report from, the 2009 housing market will revolve more around trying to hang on to current homes rather than selling new ones. Those graduating with associate degrees in real estate may want to come up with a backup career plan.

Even before the housing collapse, starting salaries for new realtors has always been relatively low ($24,630 per year, according to Since the majority of those in the field have commissioned salaries, new grads may be lucky to scrape by in 2009.

Film studies

Kiss the era of multimillion-dollar blockbusters goodbye, at least for a few years. With consumers cutting back on their entertainment budgets, production studios are scaling back on large-scale projects and many independent firms are cutting projects entirely.

In addition to economic woes, experts predict a second strike by the Screen Actor’s Guild, which would shut down projects on both the large and small screen. The LA Times reports that the 2008 screenwriters’ strike cost Los Angeles alone at least $380 million and possibly as much as $2.5 billion.

Recent layoffs at Viacom Inc., NBC Universal, Sony and Walt Disney spell out a bleak job market for 2009 film grads.

Having posted the best and the worst jobs, it is important to remind readers that predictions have a way of being off target.  Students should choose fields that they are happy with and hopefully, the money will follow.