HBCU Grads Have An Advantage In The Job Market

Photo by Elijah Megginson


By: Elijah Megginson, Features Editor


In recent years, there has been an increased effort to receive and retain elite Black talent by major leading companies in America such as Microsoft and J.P. Morgan. With the major influence of HBCUs and shocking world events post-2020, recruiters have prioritized seeking out students from HBCUs. The Morehouse College National Alumni Association (MCNAA) continues to spearhead and facilitate events that ensure employment and networking success for its alumni and other HBCU groups as well.


Last week, the association held its annual virtual “Employment Opportunities Meet and Greet” event, with alumni in attendance from Morehouse College, Howard University, Fort Valley University, CAU, Spelman College, and Bethune-Cookman University. 


A Linkedin report stated that HBCU grads experienced being laid off at a lower rate in 2020 despite the economic recession. HBCU grads were at an 11.9% decline whereas the rest of the Linkedin population was at a 16.2% decline. In fact, from 2016 through 2019 there was a 5.9% increase previously in HBCU hiring. 


Despite these optimistic numbers only about 6.2% of HBCU grads were employed in the Tech industry and about 7.4% in Finance making them a lacking minority.


 Students at this MCNAA event had the opportunity to hear from highly experienced experts across several different industries like YMCA, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Beam Suntory, BMO Harris, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Verizon, and Truist Bank. 


Attendees were able to participate in up to two sessions of breakout rooms with the top two companies of their choice. In each session, they received resume corrections and interview prep. Attendees were also given insider information about recent recruitment tips and changes.


“The climate is changing and recruiters are now spending 1.2 seconds more looking at resumes. So from six to seven seconds for [job seekers] to really talk about that prime real estate,” said Nicole Broderick YMCA Senior Recruiter. “Otherwise, this has been really great. This event gave us the opportunity to truly interact with job seekers.”


Recruiters overall were impressed by the level of engagement and professionalism set by the participants. 


“I have been lucky to have two groups who have asked great questions, really informed questions. As a recruiter, I always love to see people come prepared for events like this,” said IHG Sr. Manager DEI Recruiting and Early Careers, Marcus Johnson.


Young Black professionals having the ability to hear from experts who look and share the same experiences as them is an instrumental part of a successful employment process. Black graduates must feel prepared to walk into these rooms and valued in the process.


Another part of feeling valued is knowing that you have the same chances for employment as your non-black counterparts. MCNAA sees the importance of equity in the workforce by providing HBCU grads with access to prestigious companies and recruiters in the tech and business industry. 


Ronald Redd, Senior Vice President of BMO Harris, tells grads that most career paths are not straightforward. Most graduates switch career paths and industries he says.


“Sometimes when you don’t have the straight path it becomes a winding path, and when it is a winding path and you got to bring it all together. Networking is a big piece of it–, continuing to educate yourself, and continuing to identify where your passion might lie,” Redd said.


“Stay patient, there are going to be nos out there and you take the nos and keep pushing ahead. Almost ten times out of ten something good is going to happen if you stay at it,” he said.


Some other popular initiatives carried out by the Association this year have been REACH, a financial literacy program educating black and brown youth about money management, and The Professional Development Symposium (P.D.S) held in Atlanta and D.C. which gives HBCU students industry exposure.


The MCNAA not only gives its alumni safe and inclusive spaces to gain opportunities, but it also goes against the traditional biases and perpetuations put on Black grads by the recruitment process. Through this work, Black grads are able to show off how capable and talented they indeed are.


To learn more about the MCNAA click here.


Copy Edited by: Auzzy Byrdsell, Editor in Chief