The hiring market for new college graduates is expected to be the best it's been in the last decade, new research finds.
A study from CareerBuilder evealed that 74 percent of employers plan to hire recent college grads this year, up from 67 percent a year ago. This is the highest percentage since 2007.
Not only will employers be hiring more college graduates, they'll be paying them more too. The research found that 50 percent of those surveyed plan to offer recent college graduates higher pay than last year, up from 37 percent in 2016. Additionally, 39 percent of employers will pay new college grads a starting salary of at least $50,000, compared to just 27 percent last year.
Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, said competition for this year's crop of college graduates is expected to be as fierce as it's been in the past 10 years.
"In the current environment, where job unemployment continues to decrease and there's continued competition for sought-after skills, employers are especially attracted to college graduates, and the fresh perspective and skills they can bring to the workforce," Haefner said in a statement.
College graduates who majored in business will be the most sought after. The research found that 30 percent of the employers said college grads with a business degree are the most in-demand in their organizations. [Are you ready to graduate and looking for a job? Here are the best jobs for younger workers]
These are this year's 16 most in-demand degrees and the percentage of companies that say they are the most sought-after at their organizations:
- Business – 30 percent
- Engineering – 26 percent
- Computer and information sciences – 23 percent
- Engineering technologies – 16 percent
- Communications technologies – 13 percent
- Math and statistics – 11 percent
- Construction trades – 11 percent
- Health professions and related clinical sciences – 10 percent
- Science technologies – 9 percent
- Architecture and planning – 8 percent
- Communication and journalism – 7 percent
- Mechanic and repair technologies – 7 percent
- Social sciences – 6 percent
- Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities – 6 percent
- Law and legal studies – 5 percent
- Education – 5 percent
Employers plan to hire the most new grads this year for information technology, customer service, business development, finance, accounting and production jobs.
Despite their willingness to hire new graduates, 17 percent of employers believe colleges aren't adequately preparing students for the roles needed within their organizations.
The research revealed that 44 percent think academic institutions put too much emphasis on book learning instead of real-world learning, with 17 percent believing colleges don't encourage students to take internships enough.
The study discovered a number of skills employers believe new college graduates are deficient in. Specifically, 50 percent of those surveyed think they lack interpersonal or people skills, 45 percent think they have a shortage of problem-solving skills, and 39 percent think they need better teamwork skills.
Oral and written communication, leadership, creative thinking, project management, research and analysis, computer and technical science, and math are the other skills employers believe recent college graduates lack for the workplace.
To help soon-to-be college grads, CareerBuilder recommended several resources for a successful first-time job search:
- Career services offices: Take advantage of what your school has to offer. Career services offices typically offer valuable research materials, advice on job training and connections to local companies.
- Talent networks: Joining different company talent networks is a way to stay informed of new job openings.
- Social media: Follow and engage with various employers on social media. At the same time, be sure your own social media presence is squeaky clean.
- Professional associations: Join local chapters of professional associations dedicated to the occupations and areas in your field. These associations offer great networking opportunities and often feature exclusive job posting boards or a directory of member companies you can access.
- Alumni: Join your alma mater's local alumni association to learn about, and possibly meet, hiring managers at companies that interest you.
- Job boards: Monitor various job boards, as they often feature opportunities for all experience levels, including new grads. Try making a list of the locations where you'd like to work and the companies you want to work for, and then expand your search to include other related job titles in those companies and locations.
- Job-hunting events: Career fairs offer great opportunities to network with new contacts, practice your elevator speech and gain confidence in speaking with recruiters.
The study was based on surveys of 2,380 hiring and human resources managers.