Who Are the Top Entry-Level Employers for College Graduates in 2016?

Posted By Terri Williams on June 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm
Who Are the Top Entry-Level Employers for College Graduates in 2016?

It’s a timeless, universal catch-22: Employers want to hire candidates with work experience, but these applicants can’t gain experience unless someone hires them. It leaves both parties more than a little frustrated.

However, some Fortune 500 companies realize the value of hiring recent college grads with little-to-no experience and lead the way in mentoring and developing the nation’s youngest degreed workers.

A recent CollegeGrad.com report  ranks the top entry-level employers and the top intern employers for 2016, along with the number of recent college grads and interns that each company employs.

Top 10 entry-level employers

Employer # of Hires
1 Enterprise Rent-A-Car 8900
2 Ernst & Young 5500
3 The Progressive Corporation 4200
4 Hertz 4000
5 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 3900
6 KPMG LLP 3400
7 Deloitte 3000
8 Federal Bureau of Investigation 2900
9 Avis Budget Group 2500
10 Bank of America 2500


Top 10 intern hires

Employer # of Hires
1 Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) 6348
2 Ernst & Young 4500
3 New York Life Insurance Company 3500
4 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 3100
5 KPMG LLP 3000
6 General Electric 2400
7 Deloitte 2300
8 Enterprise Rent-A-Car 2000
9 The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company 2000
10 Southwestern Advantage 2000


Hiring entry-level college grads and providing internship opportunities can be mutually beneficial. Students and newbies gain experience, and employers benefit from a “first look” opportunity and a strong talent pipeline. GoodCall spoke with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and PricewaterhouseCoopers to discover their philosophies and approaches to interns and entry-level employees.

Enterprise Rent-A Car

Enterprise is the #1 entry-level employer and ranks #8 in intern hires. However, Marie Artim, vice president of Talent Acquisition at Enterprise Holdings, tells GoodCall that “entry-level” does not necessarily mean “young.” She explains, “We hire a diverse group of individuals that includes – but is not limited to – current students and recent grads.”

By building a talent pipeline through entry-level positions and the internship program, the company sustains its promote-from-within culture, one that has proven instrumental in developing the organization’s future leaders, Artim says.

“At Enterprise, most full-time entry-level employees get their start in the Enterprise Management Training program – receiving hands-on experience that teaches them how to run a business, empower teams, and provide excellent face-to-face customer service,” Artim says.

Employees also receive training in such business topics as profit and loss management, logistics, and business-to-business marketing and sales. These management trainee positions are available at most of the company’s more than 5,600 locations.

Enterprise has won several employment-related awards, including BusinessWeek’s 50 Best Places to Launch a Career, the Talent Board’s Top 50 Candidate Experience Award, and The Times of UK’s Top 50 Employers for Women, so GoodCall wanted to know how the company sustains such an employee-focused environment.

The answer, according to Artim, has been nearly six decades in the making. “When Jack Taylor founded Enterprise in 1957, his vision for the business was grounded in a simple but enduring philosophy, ‘Take care of your customers and employees first, and the profits will follow,’ so supporting our people has been wired into our company’s DNA from the very beginning.”

That’s why Enterprise doesn’t focus intensely on a candidate’s past experience. “Rather, we tend to key in on core traits and abilities – seeking out individuals with strong communication and leadership skills who would be willing to go the extra mile for their teams and their customers.”

It’s important to make sure than anyone who is interested in joining the Enterprise team has a positive and engaging recruitment experience, Artim says. “Once candidates are hired, we take great care to make sure they receive the mentorship and training they need to pursue a successful, fulfilling career at Enterprise.”


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is the #5 entry-level employer and the #4 hire of interns. Alexa Merschel, head of campus recruiting, tells GoodCall that the company’s leadership development experience provides an opportunity for it to embrace diversity and talent. “It starts with the internship program, and approximately 95% of our interns are offered full-time jobs,” says Merschel.

The goal of an internship is to provide students with client experiences, and the company provides a curriculum used throughout the summer or winter internship. “The internship is 8 weeks long, and 50% of that time is spent working with clients directly to have a realistic client preview and understand our culture and environment,” Merschel says.

PwC evaluates the following dimensions to attract, hire, and retain talent:
• How do they lead themselves and others?
• Do they have business acumen?
• Can they build high-value relationships?
• What are their technical capabilities?
• What is their level of global acumen – do they understand how the world works and do they have a mindset that transcends geographical boundaries?

Merschel says these factors also are used to train interns and workers. “They have the opportunity to look at the dimensions and determine what they want to develop through virtual training.” Interns at PwC also have the opportunity to engage in community service projects, she adds.

Technical skills are reviewed, Merschel says, since they’re definitely important. However, PwC also wants interns and new workers to understand the firm’s purpose, their purpose, and how to develop a personal brand and communicate with confidence.

At the end of the internship, students have the opportunity to attend “Launch,” in Walt Disney World in Florida, a weeklong process in which PwC works with Disney Discovery to provide an innovative and interactive experience.

But the training doesn’t stop there. After employees have been with the company for about 3 years, they have the opportunity to participate in “Discover.” “It is a 4-day event where they do internal reflection on their personal leadership, learn how to discover themselves more and capitalize on their strengths.” Merschel says the program helps employees sharpen their focus and become more conscious of their choices.

These are just some of the reasons that PwC has been named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, is ranked #2 on BusinessWeek’s Best Places to Intern list, and is ranked #4 on BusinessWeek’s list of Best Places to Launch a Career. “Colleges provide technical background and knowledge, but we have a great framework to help develop employees at all levels of their careers,” Merschel says.

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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