Today’s communications majors are graduating into a fast-changing field. The media landscape has evolved dramatically in just the past few years, with the rise of new social media platforms like TikTok and increased focus on audio and video storytelling. Meanwhile, technologies like generative AI are poised to completely reshape the way we communicate and produce content.
These trends present exciting opportunities for young, tech-savvy communications professionals. And with a skillset that’s in demand across industries, communications majors have a wide range of options in their job search.
We dug into the data on this year’s communications majors and uncovered 6 things to know about these students and the job market they’re entering.
First, the basics.
Communications majors make up about 6% of 2023 graduates on Handshake, and they’re more likely to be women—almost 60% of this year’s communications graduates are women, compared to about 55% of the class of 2023 overall. They have a wide range of skills, but they’re most likely to list these 5 on their Handshake profiles: Microsoft Word, writing, customer service, editing, and creativity skills.
This year’s communications graduates are submitting more job applications, and are drawn to top PR firms and media companies.
Communications majors graduating in 2023 have submitted 15% more job applications compared to their peers in the class of 2022. Companies receiving some of the highest number of applications from this group include Publicis Media, Edelman, Warner Brothers Discovery, and Group M, and top geographic destinations include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston.
Social media roles are increasingly popular with communications majors.
When comparing the class of 2023 to the class of 2022, we saw a 62% increase in the total number of applications submitted to social media roles by students majoring in communications. The number of applications per social media job also increased, especially among women—applications to social media jobs from women communications majors rose from an average of 3.5 per job (class of 2022) to 6.3 per job (class of 2023), while applications per job from men majoring in communications nudged up from 2.0 to 3.5.
Class of 2023 communications majors are applying to more government jobs.
This year’s communications graduates have submitted 78% more applications to roles in government, law, and politics compared to their predecessors in the class of 2022. In particular, this class submitted almost twice as many applications to jobs in the federal government, and showed significantly more interest in roles with employers like the NSA and US State Department. Meanwhile, applications to technology companies declined among communications majors over the past year, paralleling a drop in interest in big tech among 2023 graduates overall. Among communications majors, 2023 graduates submitting 6% fewer applications to technology companies compared to their peers in the class of 2022.
Internal communications roles are on the decline.
There was a 38% decrease in the number of internal communications roles created on the Handshake platform between the class of 2022 senior year (August 2021 to March 2022) and the same period for the class of 2023 (August 2022 to March 2023).
PR roles aren’t just for communications majors.
When it comes to jobs in PR, 2023 communications majors are competing with classmates in majors like business, entrepreneurship and human resources, civics and government, social sciences, and humanities and languages. More than half (55%) of applications for roles in PR and communications came from students with these majors, while about a third (32%) came from students majoring in communications.
Application trends were based on full-time job applications created by Handshake users majoring in communications. For analysis across classes, applications were compared across users from the classes of 2022 and 2023 in their respective senior years (from August to March). Applications per job was calculated based on applications created divided by the total number of jobs applied to. We reviewed jobs with "social media" on the title for the analysis of social media roles.