For 2015 Graduates, It’s a Seller’s Market

Posted By Terri Williams on June 11, 2015 at 9:30 am
For 2015 Graduates, It’s a Seller’s Market

Students graduating from college this year will enter a favorable job market, according to recent surveys by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the Career Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. In fact, businesses plan to hire anywhere from 9% to 16% more employees than they did in 2014.

Graduates with degrees in information technology, consulting, and financial services will find an especially favorable hiring climate. While that’s not surprising, employers also expect to fill 51% more communications jobs than they did last year. With the widespread use of Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and other social media platforms, companies realize that they need individuals who can create content, analyze data, and integrate these tools into their communications strategy. And they’re hiring students from a variety of academic backgrounds to meet these needs.

Mercy Eyadiel, Executive Director of Employer Relations and Market Readiness at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, is a thought leader in reimagining career development and preparation, so GoodCall asked her if this hiring trend will continue.

“Businesses are growing, and they are hiring more workers to build up their employee pipeline,” says Eyadiel. While it is important to staff open positions, she says companies also need a strong pipeline of leaders and employees with leadership potential who can be groomed for management positions.

“I can’t predict how long this trend will last, but we are slowly, steadily growing, and it is a good time to be graduating from a 4-year institution,” Eyadiel says. And the highest area of growth is for positions that require a 4-year degree.

Besides business growth, there are several other factors, including the aging workforce population and advances in technology, that spur the demand for college graduates.

Concerns for employers

While companies and recruiters are confident that they will reach their hiring goals, they also expressed several concerns in the Michigan State Career Employment Research Institute survey:

  • Escalating competition: Last year, large employers targeted approximately 70 candidates per open position. This year, they will target more than 160 applicants.
  • “Cool” factor: Some employers are concerned that their company may lack the type of “cool” factors (glamorous location, salary above industry standard, etc.) that attract desirable candidates.
  • Lack of qualified candidates: For example, some students who graduate with a science degree don’t have the basic laboratory experience required for a basic bench job. In addition, many candidates don’t end up passing background checks.
  • Lack of professionalism and enthusiasm: Students enter recruiting season with “lackluster” resumes and “slipshod” cover letters. They appear unfocused and unmotivated during interviews.
  • Reneging on offers: Some applicants are indecisive and may flip-flop, while their parents actively encourage them to renege on one offer to take a more desirable one. Additionally, some companies try to poach graduates who already have jobs.

However, these concerns can work in the favor of graduating students who are prepared academically and exhibit professionalism and integrity. Even though 1.8 million students are expected to graduate this year, Eyadiel says companies will be picky because they want to hire the best candidates. She concludes, “They’re not just hiring because it’s graduation season.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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