The job market is looking up for new and soon-to-be college graduates. The hiring of recent college grads is projected to increase by 23 percent over the next year, according to the annual Michigan State University recruiting trends survey.
The market should be especially fruitful for new two-year-degree and MBA graduates. The hiring of associate-degree graduates is expected to increase by 37 percent, and the hiring of graduates with a master's degree in business administration is projected to increase by 40 percent. The hiring of new grads with a bachelor's degree is expected to increase by 19 percent, and a 12-percent increase is projected for those with a doctorate degree.
Phil Gardner, the study's author and director of Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute, said the hiring of college graduates has been increasing steadily since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010.
"Our report shows that the hiring of college graduates has been moving at warp speed for the past two years," Gardner said in a statement. "And signs in the early fall of 2016 point again to another explosive year of hiring."
In all, the employers surveyed are planning to hire more than 107,000 new graduates over the next year, and 70 percent of those hires are expected to be candidates with a bachelor's degree. [See Related Story:Which College Degrees Have the Best Earning Potential?]
Two factors driving the hiring surge are company growth and employee turnover. The study revealed that 70 percent of employers point to growth as the most important reason for hiring. The industries experiencing the most growth include hospitality and food services; arts and entertainment; finance; real estate and leasing; transportation; and retail and wholesale trade.
Additionally, 57 percent of those surveyed said employee turnover is a major factor in their hiring plans. The industries experiencing large turnover include education; government; health services; nonprofits; hospitality and food services; real estate and leasing; and utilities.
This year's college grads are likely to be compensated more than recent graduates were in previous years. The study found that starting salaries are expected to increase by more than 4 percent from last year.
"This year's increase in starting salaries is the first sign that salaries are rising at a fast pace," the study's authors wrote.
The average starting salary, which varies by industry, is projected to range from $39,346 for businesses with fewer than 100 employees to $50,667 for organizations with more than 10,000 employees.
The study was based on data from 4,350 employers of all sizes and from all major industries, including education, finance, manufacturing, nonprofits, health care, social services, and professional, business and scientific services. All 50 states and several territories and neighboring countries are represented in the report.