Strongest College Hiring Outlook in a Decade: What This Means For You

May 16, 2018 Matthew Tarpey

It is a good time to be a graduate, as employers say they are planning to hire more recent college graduates this year than they have in more than a decade, according to new CareerBuilder research. Eighty percent of employers say they plan to hire college graduates this year, up from 74 percent last year and 58 percent in 2008.

Many employers are eager to grow their business and are willing to compete for top talent, which means new college graduates can expect some more substantial salary offers than they would have found a year ago. Nearly half (47 percent) of employers looking to hire recent graduates plan to offer higher pay than last year, and a third of them will be paying a starting salary of $50,000 or more.

What Employers Are Looking For
Recent graduates may have more opportunities this year, but in what fields are jobs booming? According to the survey, employers hiring recent college graduates in 2018 say they’re looking to fill roles in the following areas:

  • Information technology: 31 percent
  • Customer service: 26 percent
  • Business development: 20 percent
  • Sales: 18 percent
  • Finance/accounting: 18 percent
  • Human resources: 15 percent

What Employers Do When Grads Don’t Have a Lot of Real-World Experience
Since recent graduates tend to be relatively inexperienced, employers often place more weight on what a graduate majored in. The following majors are the most in-demand among employers hiring recent college graduates this year:

  • Business: 35 percent
  • Engineering: 22 percent
  • Computer and information sciences: 18 percent
  • Engineering technologies: 13 percent
  • Communications technologies: 11 percent
  • Health professions and related clinical sciences: 11 percent

While 82 percent of employers say academic institutions are adequately preparing students for roles needed in their organization, the survey suggests that recent graduates may be unprepared for the job search itself.

According to the survey, employers said that over the past year, more than half of recent college graduates:

  • Didn’t send a thank you note: 37 percent
  • Didn’t know anything about the company: 35 percent
  • Didn’t submit a cover letter: 31 percent
  • Didn’t ask any questions in the interview: 29 percent
  • Didn’t have professional references: 26 percent
  • Had poor grammar on their resume: 26 percent
  • Had unprofessional pictures on their social media profiles: 21 percent
  • Checked their mobile phone during the interview: 19 percent

What Does This Mean for You?
If your organization is hoping to expand headcount by hiring recent graduates this year, be prepared to face heavy competition. Do some research to make sure you’re offering a competitive starting salary, and don’t be shy about showcasing any additional perks that come with the job. And finally, steel yourself for some potentially bad interview etiquette.

Here's how to build an A+ campus recruitment strategy

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