The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Getting Started: New College Grads Entering A Strong Job Market

By Carolyn Bigda, Chicago Tribune (TNS)

This spring, students graduating from college will have more to look forward to than the end of exams and term papers. They can also expect a strong job market.

According to a survey by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, hiring of new grads is expected to jump 15 percent this year. The survey, which asked employers about their recruitment plans for the 2015-16 academic year, is based on responses from more than 4,730 firms.

“We’re seeing hiring rates that resemble the really strong job markets of past years,” said Philip Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute. He noted that hiring has improved annually since the 2010-11 school year, but that recruitment has really ramped up in the last three years.

“We’ve needed it,” Gardner said, pointing out that hiring must increase by 5 percent to 7 percent annually, “just to soak up new grads, never mind the students who graduated during the recession and may still be looking for suitable work.”

If you’re preparing to graduate in the spring, here’s what to expect.

Hiring is up throughout the country.

“There’s not one region that’s lagging,” Gardner said.

However, in some areas recruitment is off the charts. So-called super hirers — companies that plan to increase their hiring by more than 100 percent — are mostly in Virginia and California, followed by Michigan, Wisconsin and Texas.

“California and the D.C. metro area are home to power players in the job market right now,” Gardner said, such as technology firms, and companies in the aerospace, consulting and manufacturing industries.

Most sectors are hiring. In most cases, it doesn’t matter what career you want to pursue. Job growth is strong across industries too.

Take construction. In the aftermath of the 2007-09 recession, jobs for recent graduates all but disappeared in construction. But this year, hiring of grads with an associate’s degree is expected to climb by 37 percent in the industry. For graduates with a bachelor’s degree, recruitment is projected to jump 19 percent.

Other industries that could experience big hiring gains include automotive, health care, technology and professional services, such as accounting and marketing.

“One of the best pieces of news is that everyone is benefiting from the stronger job market, with the exception of big banks that are still sorting things out after the financial crisis,” Gardner said. “There’s not just one sector that’s going crazy.”

Still, while it will likely be easier to find a job this year, don’t expect to earn a fatter paycheck than last year’s college graduates.

According to CERI, 61 percent of companies plan to keep starting salaries at the same level as last year. Among employers that will raise wages, the median increase will be 3 percent.

Another 7 percent of companies will offer signing bonuses. Before the recession, 17 percent offered such bonuses to new college graduates.

“I’m surprised there’s not more wage pressure because competition for good job candidates is getting tough,” Gardner said. “But it’s just not there yet.”

Internships are key. Recruitment on college campuses is already in full swing, but internships are still one of the best paths to landing a gig after graduation.

According to CERI, 96 percent of employers use their internship programs, along with summer and co-op jobs, as a source for finding new hires.

“Building an internship pool is still a top strategy for companies, big or small,” Gardner said. “So if you’re a student and you haven’t done an internship, summer job or co-op (job) yet, it’s time to get on it.”


Carolyn Bigda writes Getting Started for the Chicago Tribune.

©2015 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Visha Angelova via Flickr



Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Youtube Screenshot

In late 2011, John Oliver and his Daily Show cameraman made a trek to my office, then in Providence, Rhode Island, to take me to task. I had recently referred to the Tea Partiers who had pushed America to the brink of a disastrous default as "economic terrorists."

Oliver had apparently swallowed whole a series of barbs directed my way by a Wall Street Journal blogger who didn't seem to like women much. The blogger kept calling me the "Civility diva" and a "Baroness Catherine Ashton lookalike." (A member of the British parliament, Ashton was said to be homely.) He was quite the wit.

Keep reading...Show less

Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Youtube Screenshot

Several mainstream media outlets are manufacturing a political narrative that the discovery of classified documents at the homes of both President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence should alleviate pressure on disgraced former President Donald Trump, who not only took a vast trove of federal records but also refused to give them back.

Biden and Pence have both cooperated with federal investigators to recover and return documents that belong to the government, and both situations have rekindled scrutiny at the overall system of federal document classification and retention, which appears to be in serious need of reform. Their two examples stand in stark contrast to Trump’s behavior, and possible misconduct, regarding his own handling of government records.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}