One-half of U.S. employers planning to hire recent college grads: Survey

Firms looking to grads to fill IT, customer service, finance positions
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/18/2013

The college graduating class of 2013 will enter a stronger job market than in the years immediately following the recession; however, young professionals entering high-skill fields may have a decided advantage, according to a new study from CareerBuilder.com and CareerRookie.com.

More than one-half (53 per cent) of employers in the United States plan to hire recent college graduates in 2013, on par with 2012 (54 per cent) and up significantly from 46 per cent in 2011 and 44 per cent in 2010.

Employers in industries that generally demand more high-skill workers are also more likely to recruit recent college graduates. Information technology employers rank ahead of all industries with 65 per cent planning to hire recent graduates. They are followed by financial services (63 per cent) and health care (56 per cent), found the poll of 2,184 hiring managers in the U.S.

Additionally, the survey found that employers in IT and financial services are the most likely to recruit workers for hard-to-fill jobs (37 per cent, each) prior to graduation.

“New college graduates are facing a better employment situation this year, but the number of employers planning to recruit them are still trailing pre-recession estimates by more than 20 percentage points,” said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. “The market remains highly competitive. Those graduating with niche or technical skill sets will be in a better position to find more opportunities in higher-paying jobs.”

Starting salaries

Of employers who plan to hire recent college graduates, 27 per cent expect to offer higher starting salaries than they did in 2012 with nearly one-half reporting that starting salaries will range between US$30,000 and US$49,999. One-quarter plan to offer a starting salary of US$50,000 or higher.

Top job areas

Recruiters will be primarily looking for recent college graduates to fill two types of jobs: roles that require specific technical knowledge or hard skills, such as IT (26 per cent), finance (16 per cent) or health care (12 per cent), and front-line customer and client facing roles such as customer service (19 per cent) and sales (16 per cent).

While the name of the institution will not matter to a majority of hiring managers and human resource professionals, a notable percentage report they may be influenced by the name of the school. Nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) of hiring managers said they are more likely to hire a recent graduate who went to a more prestigious school. Similarly, one-fifth of employers said they are more likely to hire someone who is a fellow alumna or alumnus.

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