CHICAGO, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The college graduating class of 2013 will enter a stronger job market than in the years immediately following the recession; however, young professionals entering high-skill fields may have a decided advantage, according to a new study from CareerBuilder.com and CareerRookie.com. More than half (53 percent) of U.S. employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2013, on par with 2012 (54 percent) and up significantly from 46 percent in 2011 and 44 percent in 2010.
The nationwide survey—conducted online by Harris Interactive © from February 11 to March 6, 2013— included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.
Employers in industries that generally demand more high-skill workers are also more likely to recruit recent college graduates. According to the survey, information technology employers rank ahead of all industries with 65 percent of hiring managers and human resources professionals planning to hire recent graduates. They are followed by financial services employers (63 percent) and health care employers (56 percent). Additionally, the survey found that employers in IT and financial services are the most likely to recruit workers for hard-to-fill jobs (37 percent, each) prior to graduation.
"New college graduates are facing a better employment situation this year, but the number of employers planning to recruit them are still trailing pre-recession estimates by more than 20 percentage points," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "The market remains highly competitive. Those graduating with niche or technical skill sets will be in a better position to find more opportunities in higher-paying jobs."Starting Salaries for College GraduatesOf employers who plan to hire recent college graduates, 27 percent expect to offer higher starting salaries than they did in 2012 with nearly half reporting that starting salaries will range between $30,000 and $49,999, but strong percentages plan to extend offers at the low and high ends of the pay scale as well:
- Less than $30,000 — 25 percent
- $30,000 to less than $40,000 — 29 percent
- $40,000 to less than $50,000 — 20 percent
- $50,000 and higher — 25 percent
- IT — 26 percent (employers recruiting for jobs in this role)
- Customer service — 19 percent
- Finance/accounting — 16 percent
- Sales — 16 percent
- Business development — 15 percent
- Health care — 12 percent
- Highlight relevant "non-work" experience. The majority of employers agree that internships are the most common form of relevant experience (70 percent), and many also consider volunteer work (46 percent), involvement in school organizations (36 percent), relevant class work such as research projects or term papers (31 percent), and fraternity or sorority leadership (21 percent) as relevant experience. If positioned to match requirements on the job listing, such information can make a difference.
- Do your homework on the company. The most common reasons employers pass on recent college graduates all have to do with candidates' lack of preparedness or disinterest in the company, such as: candidate didn't know anything about the company (20 percent); candidate seemed bored (19 percent); candidate didn't ask questions (19 percent).
- Network early and often. More than one quarter (27 percent) of employers recruit candidates for hard-to-fill jobs before graduation. Expected graduates can get a leg up on their peers by attending campus career fairs, preparing resumes early, following company career pages on social media or joining a College Talent Network (custom recruitment sites for college students or recent graduates seeking employment at a specific organization).