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College Grads Prioritize Job Location, Plus TikTok Employees Questioned At U.S. Border



College Grads Prioritize Job Location, Plus TikTok Employees Questioned At U.S. Border

This is a published version of Forbes’ Careers Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Growing up, my mom, an avid HGTV-watcher and real estate aficionado, never failed to have one thing on our TV—House Hunters (and all of its spinoffs and variations). After many years of first just passively watching and eventually becoming as engaged in the choice of molding as my mom, I internalized the first rule of real estate: location, location, location. No matter the price, the condition or the amenities, the one thing you can’t change is a property’s location. It’s a mantra that pops back into my head whenever buying any property comes up in conversation.

And it seems like this year, it’s also top-of-mind for college graduates. According to Handshake’s latest network trends report for 2024 college graduates, 46% of students graduating in May now consider their job’s location as the main factor in their decision. This is up from last year, when location didn’t make the top five reasons students took jobs. And a huge 79% said they’re willing to relocate, up from 71% in 2023. Still, given the choice, 86% said they’d like to stay near friends and family.

It certainly speaks to a larger workforce trend: the rise of more affordable cities as job market hubs. The traditional hubs of New York and San Francisco are increasingly getting replaced by the Austins and Charlottes of the United States. A Wall Street Journal report found that Salt Lake City was the hottest job market in 2023, with San Francisco ranking 29th and New York City coming in at 47 out of the 55 cities ranked.

The Handshake report also highlighted a related trend for 2024 college grads: They’re applying to more government jobs than tech jobs, likely because of the stability factor. A March Glassdoor report also found that government jobs tend to have some of the highest employee satisfaction rates, and are perceived to be more stable—the class of 2024’s biggest priority when applying for jobs.

I think we can all agree it’s a wild time to be entering the workforce, especially when employee confidence in their employer’s business is lowest among entry-level workers, and Gen Z is the most disengaged generation at work. But 2024 grads’ priorities could be the early hints of employment trends to come later in the year.

I’ll be keeping an eye out, my ears open, and inbox ready until then.


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DEEP DIVE: Hiring Managers Are Looking At These “New Ivies” For New Recruits

It used to be that hiring managers for elite national consulting, banking and investment firms would focus their recruiting efforts on only Ivy League schools.

“There was a notion that the reputation of the school was a proxy for the type of talent you might get,” says Christine Cruzvergara, who served until early 2019 as associate provost and executive director of career education at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, one of the “Seven Sisters”—elite schools for women established when most of the Ivy League excluded them.

But a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and labor shortages, as well as online video and recruitment platforms like Handshake and Zoom, have expanded the horizon for hiring managers at some of the top companies in the U.S. My colleague and education staff writer Emma Whitford spoke to a number of hiring managers about how, and where, they’re recruiting new talent.

Beyond the eight Ivy League schools and top research universities, hiring managers are now looking for more talent from a variety of private and public institutions—Forbes ranked the top 10 of each as part of its “New Ivies” list. They’re also increasing partnerships with HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions to increase the number of diverse employees.

And some are even looking to community colleges. Bank of America, the country’s second largest bank, created a program to offer summer internships specifically for community college students, now in its third summer.

Beyond expanding their pool of universities for recruiting, some companies are also implementing programs to upskill new hires right off the bat, investing in their education while filling future needs. Take PwC, for example: There’s a shortage of qualified CPAs, so the consulting company set up a program that pays students to work part-time while getting a tuition-free masters at Northeastern University in Boston to fill the gap.

It sounds like a pretty sweet deal—work for a prestigious company while getting paid to go to school? Sign me up.


News from the world of work

TikTok employees, many of them Chinese, are being stopped at the U.S. border and questioned about their connections to the Chinese Communist Party, Forbes’ Emily Baker-White reports. More than 30 employees have been stopped and asked about their access to U.S users data.

Have you ever shied away from, or scoffed at, internal business groups for employees at your company? You may want to rethink that. Last week, another member of Oracle’s unofficial business mentoring group—a small group of engineers that gathered weekly at Oracle’s Silicon Valley headquarters for a mini-MBA—took his company, data provider Rubrik, public at a $5.6 billion valuation. It’s just the latest moment of success for the group of now-founders that were once believed to be better engineers than businesspeople, Forbes’ Alex Konrad reports.

If you’re a salaried worker who makes less than $59,000 a year, you will soon be eligible to earn overtime pay, according to a new rule passed by the Department of Labor, marking an almost 65% increase from the current threshold of $35,568 for salaried employees. This will add an estimated 4.3 million more salaried employees to those eligible for mandatory overtime pay.

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek shocked investors, and the internet, when he said that “day-to-day” operations were disrupted “more than anticipated” because of layoffs. The music streamer laid off 17% of its workforce in December after saying that “too many people were dedicated to supporting work.” You can imagine the memes.

In union news, unionized workers at Daimler Truck, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, came to a “historic deal” with the company that avoided a strike by more than 7,000 workers in North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Plus, unionized workers at Condé Nast, the publisher of magazines like GQ and Vanity Fair, said they were willing to walk off the job and strike if progress was not made on contract negotiations, one week before the company’s most popular event—the Met Gala.

Upscale grocery chains Foxtrot and Dom’s Kitchen abruptly shuttered all their stores last week, less than one year since the two merged. Foxtrot had previously raised $100 million, but the store’s closures left more than 1,000 employees out of a job. It’s not the first major chain of internet-friendly companies to suddenly shutter their doors this year, as athleticwear retailer Outdoor Voices closed its physical stores in early March. Here’s what to do if you are laid off.



That’s the number of jobs Southwest Airlines said it would cut—about 3% of its total workforce—as it tries to address “significant challenges” caused by delays in Boeing aircraft deliveries. The airline will also close operations at four airports in North America.


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The FTC banned noncompete agreements last Tuesday in a move that is already being challenged in court. But the ban did come with some exceptions. What kind of employees will be allowed to maintain existing noncompete agreements?

A. All employees with existing noncompete agreements

B. Senior-level executives in decision-making positions

C. C-suite executives only

D. None of the above

Check if you got it right here.

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