The research questions whether the Great Recession has impacted job opportunities of young adults with a university education. Data was gathering using a survey of recent and older College of Wooster alumni. The survey inquiries into job hunting methods, field of employment, greatest assets as a job candidate and other variables. Afterwards, I analyzed the results with Functionalism and Generational Theory. For Functionalism, I relied on Parson’s AGIL model with an emphasis on adaptation and latent pattern maintenance for my research. A functionalist lens reveals that the Great Recession was harsh but people have established equilibrium in the job market so the Great Recession was not as bleak as some scholars and media have portrayed it.

Equilibrium was achieved by people being more proactive when job hunting. This proactivity is by widening the locations alumni would consider moving to for work, the type of job one pursues or simply applying to more places and earlier than previous generations. Generational Theory argues that job prospects will fluctuate between generations so the Great Recession is not significant in the long term. However the Great Recession is significant as it shapes people’s perceptions about job prospects. By creating an atmosphere with little hope, the Great Recession has bonded a generation in their concern for their futures and made generational cohorts competitive for work. This competition includes networking, refining resumes, job fair graduate school and bilingualism.


Tierney, Thomas


Sociology and Anthropology


Educational Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations


education, recession, employment

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Kiara A. Bermudez