• Hiring Outlook Brightens for College Grads

    by Janet Mizrahi
    Newsletter Editor

    This year's crop of graduates holding bachelor's degrees can enter the job market feeling a little more secure. Employers across a wide swath of industries and company size anticipate hiring candidates from all majors, according to a new report.

    Recruiting Trends 2011-2012, published by Michigan State University under principal investigator Dr. Phil Gardner, is the fifteenth annual analysis performed by MSU researchers. This year's study measured responses by 4,200 employers intending to fill full-time positions.

    The 42-page report contains 20 sections and includes topics on hiring by academic major, industry, company size, and region. It also covers starting salaries and global hiring.

    Several factors influence the improved forecast, among them the fact that many firms that have held off hiring now must do so to fill outstanding requisitions. Additionally, Baby Boomers continue to retire, leaving gaping holes in all industries.

    The authors of the report are guardedly optimistic. They note that political unrest across the globe and economic uncertainty at home can throw off the economy's delicate turnaround. And even with the improved outlook, the number of jobs will not keep pace with the number of college graduates.

    Still, the future is looking rosier, especially for some students, as is seen from the findings below.

    • Computer science majors are still in demand across all industry sectors.
    • Accounting, most engineering disciplines, and finance majors can expect good job prospects.
    • Marketing, advertising, public relations, and sales positions will be increasing.
    • Nursing, lab scientists, and chemistry are just a few of the majors that will see more opportunities this year.

    Although graduates can expect an improved hiring climate, starting salary levels will remain constant. Seventy percent of employers surveyed do not plan to raise beginning pay packages. But bonuses and commission-based salaries are being seen again.

    The report urges new job seekers to "be focused, be directed, and be connected." Students looking for work should leverage liaisons between their campuses, alumni, parents, and hiring staff.

    In his closing comments, Dr. Gardner predicts that colleges and universities will be increasingly called upon to show their "relevancy for preparing students to engage in meaningful employment after graduation." He writes that by matching students with emerging opportunities, we help prevent the new generation of workers from "wandering lost, hoping something good happens."

    Source: Michigan State University Career Services and Collegiate Employment Research Institute. (2011-2012). Recruiting Trends 2011-2012. Retrieved from http://www.ceri.msu.edu/recruiting-trends-2011-2012/