This year's college graduates will find a more active, and potentially lucrative, hiring market, new data show.
Employers expect to hire 10 percent more college graduates from the Class of 2012 than they did from last year's crop of grads, according to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
This marks the second consecutive year that employers have increased their hiring expectations from their initial outlook in the fall.
"Although employers haven’t revised their earlier projections significantly (up 0.5 percent), this upward movement along with other positive economic indicators show that the job market for new college graduates is improving steadily," said Marilyn Mackes, the executive director of the NACE.
The research revealed an increase in the average number of jobs posted by employers, up 10.5 percent this year to 116. That’s a notable bump from 2010, when employers reported an average of just 45 job postings.
According to the NACE April Salary Survey, the educational services industry leads the way in bringing in new college graduates, with nearly 300,000 grads already hired in 2012. Other top hiring industries include health care and social assistance, professional, scientific and technical services, finance and insurance and manufacturing.
College graduates after the most cash should look for a job in the utility industry, which has the highest average starting salary at $64,400.The information, manufacturing, management of companies and enterprises and finance and insurance industries all reported average annual salaries above $50,000 for college grads.
Overall, the average starting salary for a Class of 2012 graduate is $44,442, a 6.6 percent increase over what was being doled out to the Class of 2011.
The study was based on surveys of the 160 NACE-member organizations that hire new college graduates.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.