Research Summary. After extensive research, interviews, and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:
Salaries have increased 16% for columnists in the last 5 years
Projected job growth for columnists is -10% from 2018-2028
There are over 3,611 columnists currently employed in the United States
There are 1,783 active columnist job openings in the US based on job postings
The average salary for a columnist is $50,696
No, columnist jobs are not in demand. The job market for analysts is projected to decline -10% from 2018 to 2028.
|Year||# Of Jobs||% Of Population|
|Year||Avg. Salary||Hourly Rate||% Change|
Mouse over a state to see the number of active columnist jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where columnists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.
|Rank||State||Population||# of Jobs||Employment/1000ppl|
|1||District of Columbia||693,972||196||28%|
|Rank||City||# of Jobs||Employment/1000ppl||Avg. Salary|
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Pennsylvania State University Altoona
Austin Community College
University of Illinois-Chicago
University of Arizona
University of Central Arkansas
Metropolitan State University
Southern Oregon University
The University of Kansas
Roselyn Costantino Ph.D.: Be on top of all sharing apps; by the time someone claims which to know, new ones will be available so you must be current. Find out what businesses or fields of interest are using. Linkedin is broadly used. Keystone Staffing Solutions' CFO and recruiters stress that no matter what you are doing; gap year or full-time job, spend 2 to 3 hours a day on-line, expanding your knowledge of apps major organizations in your field and beyond are using.
Roselyn Costantino Ph.D.: English Degree: Your degree enables development/expertise in the what are the essential skills in so many professions and businesses: the ability to write critically, be persuasive, and communicate with clarity. Write papers or articles and submit to publications. Start blogs and share ideas with people in your similar situation. Encourage professionals to participate and add advice.
If speaking in public is difficult, take courses. Afraid? Practice starting with children by volunteering or offering free classes for kids. Work up to older children, then work with adults. Build confidence and skill. But importantly, don't underestimate the value of this ability.
Roselyn Costantino Ph.D.: All of us took language classes. Recruiters want to know how you are able to use the language; not how many years you studied or if you majored or minored, but can you sustain an intelligent conversation with a speaker in that language. Practical use, real life. Study abroad highly recommended. However, you need to differentiate between going abroad to party versus expanding your language and cultural skills.
Globalization, even among small farmers, small businesses, and population migrations make speaking a foreign language a substantial advantage in the job market, across fields, throughout the U.S. and abroad. Spanish, in particular, is highly sought after not only for companies/organizations with international business or connections, but also those operating only in the U.S. For decades, and to this day, I receive regular requests from legal, medical, corporate, non-profit organizations for written or in-person translations because they do not have enough people on site with this skill. These are well-paid.
Jobs of the future that we cannot even imagine now will benefit from and require the language and cultural skills that perspective employees can provide. Without sounding crass, and speaking specifically about Spanish, studies have shown that when 2 applicants with similar resumes apply for the same job, with the only difference being ability to speak Spanish, the applicant with Spanish-language skills will get the job the overwhelming majority of times and will be in the position to demand a higher salary, than the one who does not. Just a fact.
Roselyn Costantino Ph.D.: Most important advice: Take initiative and be productive.
Find practical ways to use skills even if unpaid. Volunteer work is good. Use language skills. Technology skills. Exploit technology skills around the area of interest. If you want to be a teacher find out what software they are using today; what research skills are they utilize. Make sure you log your activities during the gap year especially those that relate to the area in which you want to work. If you want to go into finance, and you're working at a lawn service, understand and learn the business model and the accounting. If you're working at Starbucks (or in any commercial environment), get a chance to do inventories, learn about the ordering process, sources and suppliers for those orders; and how people are scheduled for work. All of that is relevant experience for business.
Keystone Staffing Solutions' Tony Canella and other recruiters emphasize that having evidence in your resume of of being productive during the gap time, no matter if it's one, two or three years. Evidence of being productive is what recruiters want to see on your resume. Canella stresses: 'What did you do to expand your knowledge and skills not only in your selected area but beyond. BEING PRODUCTIVE for yourself proves to be an indicator of how productive you will be for me.'
How to go about a gap year? Use teachers, friends, family, anyone in the field or related to it to provide guidance, insight, suggestions. This can lead to projects or experience that will help in learning and growth.
Dr. Judy Sanders: Careers that allow employees to work from home.
Dr. Judy Sanders: Good communication skills, both written and verbal.
Department of Anthropology
Jennifer Santos Esperanza Ph.D.: In terms of immediately valuable skills, recent college graduates should enter the workforce with an ability to write well, analyze data (both qualitative and quantitative) and demonstrate the initiative to learn about various workings of an organization. This may sound like a generic set of skills, but what I've observed from young graduates out in the workforce, during their first year or two, is the desire to immediately put their majors to use only in the industries that are directly related to what they studied, comes at the expense of closing themselves off to other great career opportunities.
For example, an anthropology major may spend months and months searching for that great opportunity to intern with a museum without realizing that a firm that organizes trade shows and corporate conferences is looking for new graduates. The skills needed to be successful in the museum industry -- organizing and creating an exhibit, writing press releases, conducting outreach to stakeholders, and collaborating with a team are valuable skills that can be practiced and perfected in the trade show industry.
In terms of marketable skills, recent graduates should know that we're currently living in an era of "big data." Our governmental policies, healthcare industries, retail, finance, education, and so many other sectors are heavily reliant on the information that is collected in real-time, 24-hours a day. If recent graduates can demonstrate that they are comfortable processing, analyzing, and/or presenting data at any stage of the process, I think they're in a good position in today's job market. And don't get me wrong -- I don't mean that recent graduates are going to find themselves as mere "number crunchers" looking at spreadsheets all day. We need graduates with graphic design skills to be able to create infographics and user-friendly presentations for a wide variety of audiences. Processing big data can also mean lending a social and political lens toward analyzing the demographic information collected from social media, polls, and online customer reviews; we need anthropologists, sociologists, and gender studies majors to be able to disaggregate that data to remind us that race, ethnicity, gender, and other identities need to be taken into account.
Jennifer Santos Esperanza Ph.D.: There's no one ideal type of destination for graduates to seek employment. While the instinct for new graduates is to flock to major metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco, we know that those places aren't exactly hospitable for someone looking for affordable housing or transportation. I'd say that if a recent anthropology college graduate has some flexibility as to where they can move, they should keep their eyes open to medium-sized cities and even small towns that may surprisingly have a branch office of a multinational corporation, non-governmental agency, or non-profit.
In the town where I reside (Beloit, Wisconsin), we are about two hours north of Chicago, with a population of slightly under 36,000 people. But the town happens to have a branch office of a Japanese e-commerce company, an Irish food company whose U.S. headquarters are based here, and a number of other international firms. Lots of companies are moving to smaller towns because overhead costs just aren't exorbitant here as they might be in bigger cities. Also, medium-sized cities and small towns are increasingly becoming the new destination for immigrant families and refugees looking to settle down, largely because of their affordability. Anthropology majors and other recent graduates who can work with multilingual, multicultural communities are needed to help these groups find housing, navigate various social services, find jobs, and settle into their new lives.
Jennifer Santos Esperanza Ph.D.: I think COVID has definitely impacted technological trends that were on their way to becoming popular anyway -- but the pandemic and social distancing have accelerated its usage. Online shopping, ordering take-out meals to be delivered to homes, conducting meetings through Zoom, or Google Meet are a few examples.
I see technology as largely an ever-evolving set of platforms that merely assist people in what we've always needed: a social connection. Throughout this pandemic, people have found new ways to meet friends and even strangers by playing games online through Twitch, hosting Netflix viewing parties, or meeting through Zoom social gatherings. A really good anthropologist could observe these communities to identify ways that these online platforms still fall short of being an optimal social gathering and recommend ways to make them better. We also need to see what happens to these platforms after the pandemic is over when we resume real, face-to-face interactions. How will Twitch still be useful after COVID? Will college classes and workplaces continue to Zoom after the pandemic as a way of circumventing the use of crowded lecture halls or expensive office building space? The field of anthropology is all about looking at trends in human cultural behavior, so our society's use of technology during and after COVID will definitely need to be tracked to identify what, exactly, those trends are.
University of Illinois-Chicago
Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies
Dr. Claudia R. Fernández: You should continue using your Spanish language either by reading, interacting anytime you can, watching movies, listening to music, etc., mostly if Spanish is not your native language or you did not go to a school where Spanish was the main language for teaching and learning. It would be ideal if you could spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country to enrich your cultural and linguistic knowledge.
If your major is Spanish or any other language, linguistics or literature, and you want to continue in the field and get a relatively good job in education or in the private industry, most likely, you will need to study a Master's or a Ph.D. A Master's will open more doors in education (higher education, for example), and a Ph.D. will help you become a researcher and will provide you greater knowledge to investigate and, hopefully, solve questions in the field.
Dr. Claudia R. Fernández: Technology advances so quickly that it is difficult to predict what will be important in 3-5 years. However, it depends on the career area chosen. For education, for example, it would be important to know the tools that enhance and facilitate learning but most importantly, you need to know your area of expertise well so you have the information that will help you decide what technologies would be effective for what you need to do. In second language teaching, for example, there are tons of new technologies to choose from; however, many technology-related teaching materials still include mechanical-drills, a learning technique that is very much outdated and disqualified by research. Thus, technologies are important, but they are relatively easy to learn. What is difficult is to have the foundational knowledge to select the tools that will be effective to achieve the identified intentions or objectives. Equally important is for you to be independent, flexible, proactive, and resourceful. The term has been criticized, but "digital literacy" is what is desirable for students to have, in addition to having values for social justice and protecting the environment, for example.
Dr. Claudia R. Fernández: Salaries in these fields are relatively low in education, but they may be higher in the private industry. Businesses like Duolingo or similar, or in commercial publishing (i.e., textbooks) may pay higher salaries, as well as in translation.
It is convenient, at least for majors in languages, to also have a second major such as education, health-related areas, business, computer science, political science, etc. Having knowledge of language and cultures will make them stronger candidates for prospective jobs, that's for sure. Language learning trains the student to deal with "greys" and ambiguities, to make inferences, and to work comfortably, even when not everything is known or totally understood. It builds resilience and confidence.
Paul Hurh: For English majors, the best companies to work for will be the companies that reflect and advance the individual values of the job seeker. One of the most powerful things about a degree in English is how adaptable it is-every industry needs good writers, independent thinkers, and analysts, and those are all skills that English majors are uniquely trained in. Companies that value innovation and adaptation are particularly good career choices for English majors, as they will value employees who are able to identify the root causes of particular challenges. English majors, due to their training in textual analysis and their big-picture understanding of historical trends, do not only ask what to do but why they are doing it. Those are the employees who will be able to find new and original ways to solve persistent problems in whatever industry that they choose to work in.
Paul Hurh: The conventional wisdom is that the demand for these graduates will decrease in the next five years. I am not so sure. Since so many sectors are facing major realignment and upheaval, the demand for employees who have exceptional "soft skills" will maintain or increase. English majors are exceptionally adaptable, as they are not trained with a single career focus. As communication and writing and reading skills in the workforce become paramount, it may be the case that there will be both fewer English majors (due to conventional wisdom) and more demand for them (from employers who want smart employees with strong verbal and analytical skills that they can train quickly).
Paul Hurh: As above, English majors can find careers all over the United States. For some of the careers that are unique to the English major, such as freelance writing, editing, and publishing, the major hubs are urban areas, with New York being the standout for publishing. There is also persistent demand for teachers of English as a second language in the borderland and immigrant-rich communities.
Susan Cerasano: From my own experience, I can say that many of my graduating seniors have decided to pursue graduate training at the moment. I think that some of this is encouraged by the pandemic. Given the uncertainty of the job market, it's a very good time to move on into law school, or graduate school, other post-graduate programs. And we also see a ride in applications to postgraduate fellowships, to study abroad. Additionally, bridge programs, such as those which provide a segue into the business world (Dartmouth's Tuck Bridge Program), have been popular amongst my graduating seniors. In the past, graduate students with a concentration in English always did seek careers in the business world in great numbers; however, the crisis precipitated by the pandemic has, it seems, encouraged them to seek short-term programs that will prepare them to transition into that professional sector with greater competitiveness.
A liberal arts curriculum, by definition, doesn't offer targeted business courses; but it does graduate students who are sharp, creative thinkers who bring with them a powerful range of background competencies and who are articulate. As such, our students remain attractive to prospective employers in a range of fields. In the past, graduates might have been happy to leave the University and experiment around for a few years, in various jobs or in their own start-ups, before applying for postgraduate programs. Now, they seem to be moving on to targeted programs more quickly.
Susan Cerasano: Graduating students need excellent verbal skills, both written and verbal; they need to be numerate as well; they need to be good critical thinkers; they need not only to be able to work in groups, but to be able to be self-starters AND to be able to work alone (this last one gets overlooked sometimes); they must be fluent with a range of cultures and possess a sense of global literacy; they should be able to handle to basics of common software programs; and finally, they must have a good work ethic. I can honestly say that I know many Colgate students who exemplify these characteristics.
Susan Cerasano: For undergraduates with liberal arts degrees, many sectors of the employment world are still open to them. Graduates end up in business sectors from finance to banking; they pursue television communications and internet journalism, both on-camera and off-camera; they are excellent candidates for teachers and, later in life, for administrators in public school education; they pursue careers in arts and in arts administration. Sometimes liberal arts graduates take time to try different jobs out because their undergraduate education is not as targeted as it would be if they pursued a Bachelor's degree in one very particular career field. The advantage that students like Colgate students carry with them is a remarkable training as critical thinkers and a wide preparation that makes them appealing to a wide variety of employers, and which allows graduates to pursue careers in many kinds of fields.
Susan Cerasano: I think that the pandemic will doubtless slow down some areas of the economy, which will limit opportunities for all recent graduates. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that once the vaccination process allows the economy to get up and running more normally, more opportunities will present themselves. Additionally, new businesses have opened up as a result of the pandemic, responding to needs that weren't felt previously, and some of these will continue in their current or altered states. So perhaps recent graduates won't find themselves stalled in the way they currently fear. At the moment, there is a fair amount of anxiety everywhere surrounding the future. Liberal arts graduates, such as Colgate students, will, I think, have the right qualifications to surmount the worst of the difficulties that the pandemic produces within the economy, primarily because they will have the breadth and versatility to find meaningful employment, despite the challenges.
University of Central Arkansas
Dr. Polly Walter, David Keith, Michael Haddigan, Rob Moritz and Angela Wiser: Internships, student media, work samples/portfolios that show proficiency in reporting and editing skills across the various multimedia platforms, volunteer work. The more experience they can show, the better.
Dr. Polly Walter, David Keith, Michael Haddigan, Rob Moritz and Angela Wiser: Our faculty believes it's best not to take a gap year after college graduation because if an employer has a hiring choice between someone just out of college and someone who graduated a year before who has not worked in journalism, we think he or she would go with the recent grad. If a gap year is taken, we recommend doing something to enhance skills - writing, photography, videography, etc.
Dr. Polly Walter, David Keith, Michael Haddigan, Rob Moritz and Angela Wiser: Hard to see that far into the future, but we expect different social media platforms, augmented reality, artificial intelligence to become more important. Several of these are slowly unfolding today. Students will need solid production skills that are transferrable. COVID-19 forced our students to shift from professional studios to cell phone and Zoom interviews and Facebook Live streaming, so a versatile knowledge base in those skills is necessary. Besides technology, the foundational skills of problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication will remain crucial.
Metropolitan State University
Department of Journalism & Media Production
Stacy Barton: Being able to adapt, on the fly, to get the story is, and always has been, essential in journalism. Today, however, journalists and media professionals require a wider repertoire and more flexibility than ever. Face-to-face interviews vs. virtual video interviews, for example, warrant different technique and technology considerations, including necessary equipment, set-up, and/or networking capabilities. Graduating professionals will ideally have experience creating high-quality audio, photography, and video stories using various professional production equipment. They should be able to comfortably work both behind and in front of the camera, photographing, recording, reporting, and writing in AP Style.
Not to be discounted, a crucial skill is knowing how to professionally edit and master media and then, deliver it remotely, at a moment's notice, for various mediums spanning online, broadcast, and/or print distribution. It's essential for journalists to possess the drive and the motivation to work alone, or in a very small team, as self-sufficient producers, in a profession that, now, more than ever, prioritizes the work of 'one-man-band' backpack journalists who are less expensive and more efficient.
Stacy Barton: Journalism is a changing field, no doubt. They were graduating students entering the workforce, once naturally flocked to publications based in the nation's largest urban centers. Nowadays, though, it seems the best place to be is online and everywhere. Depending on the scale of the platform and story, as more publications of every scale move exclusively online, in a rapidly transforming marketplace, hiring sub-contracted writers, copyeditors, and media producers for the merit of their talent and flexibility, instead of their proximity to the home office, has become prevalent. Freelance remote production and correspondence is a way of life for many professionals documenting national and international news stories today.
Stacy Barton: Since journalists are already prominently interfacing with the public through video conferencing, and other means of digital communication, to interview and conduct research, technology is the field, so to speak. I suspect this impact will only continue to grow, especially as technology becomes increasingly more innovative and accessible. To envision now what communications technology will be in 5 years, for me, is difficult; I'm sure I'd shortchange the endless and evolving possibilities.
Southern Oregon University
K. Silem Mohammad Ph.D.: Relevant experience in one's field is crucial, but acute verbal skills are becoming increasingly rarer and more sought after. If you can express yourself clearly and demonstrate a solid grasp of compositional style, you have a big leg up. I can't overemphasize the value of sounding like an adult.
K. Silem Mohammad Ph.D.: Read widely and critically. The most crucial intellectual growth often happens after the conferral of the degree. Also, keep honing those writing skills. Get used to shaping your opinions and observations for a broad audience.
K. Silem Mohammad Ph.D.: No surprise here: digital communications. The pandemic has shown how platforms like Zoom can enhance the classroom experience, even as some of the benefits of in-person learning are lost.
Steve Rottinghaus: I believe there will be more opportunities to work remotely. More companies were moving in that direction before the pandemic. The past eight months have allowed employees to gauge their effectiveness in working from home.
Companies will also emphasize the quality of work, rather than being overly concerned with the hours their employees work. Employers will devote more resources to professional development and skills training so their employees will provide more value by being flexible.
Steve Rottinghaus: Cloud access will continue to be more prevalent as companies move away from storing information on a hard drive.
Videoconferencing, incredibly Zoom, will continue to be used in the workplace to improve productivity.
Steve Rottinghaus: I always tell students and their families that every organization craves a compelling storyteller because of the various platforms to deliver a message. Since March, if you have been following the news, you will notice that there's an increased demand for communication - internal and external. The first half of 2021 will continue to be a challenge for graduates entering the workforce. After more people become protected with vaccines and the economy stabilizes, you should see steady employment growth through 2025.