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Survey: More than Half of Employers Plan to Hire Recent College Graduates in 2012

Planning to hire new college graduates this year? You’re not alone. See where you fall among your competitors – and get tips for hiring college graduates.

College grads have it sooo easy these days. Or at least, they have it easier than alumni of the previous three years, according to a new joint survey from CareerBuilder and CareerRookie.

Among the more than 2,000 hiring managers who participated in the national survey, more than half (54 percent) plan to hire recent college graduates this year, an increase from 46 percent last year, 44 percent in 2010 and 43 percent in 2009.

The increased hiring plans are a promising sign for the state of the economy. “This is the first time since the recession that we’re seeing a majority of employers planning to add recent college graduates to their employee roster,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America, in a press release.

How does your compensation package compare?
Of the employers who plan to hire recent college graduates, 29 percent expect to offer higher starting salaries than they did in 2011. Here’s a breakdown of the expected salary offers. Where does your organization fall?

  • Less than $30,000 – 20 percent
  • $30,000 to less than $40,000 – 30 percent
  • $40,000 to less than $50,000 – 21 percent
  • $50,000 and higher – 28 percent

Which college majors are competing for most?
Business tops the list of most in-demand majors, with technical majors following closely behind.

  • Business – 39 percent
  • Computer and Information Sciences – 24 percent
  • Engineering – 23 percent
  • Math and Statistics – 13 percent
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences – 13 percent
  • Communications Technologies – 12 percent
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences – 9 percent

What jobs are employers targeting college grads to fill?
Companies continue to recruit recent college graduates for roles that drive innovation, sales and new market opportunities.

  • Information Technology – 25 percent
  • Customer Service – 23 percent
  • Sales – 21 percent
  • Finance/Accounting – 18 percent
  • Marketing – 17 percent
  • Business Development – 17 percent

Four Tips for Hiring Recent Graduates
The tricky thing about hiring recent college graduates is that they have little to no work experience, so it becomes hard to predict how they’ll be as employees. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Look beyond internships and part-time jobs: Ask college graduates about their volunteer work, class work, managing activities for sororities or fraternities, and sports, all of which can indicate leadership capabilities, collaboration activities, time management, communications skills and work ethic.
  2. Hire for culture, train for skills: What college graduates lack in experience, they may make up for in enthusiasm and work ethic. Before you even begin hiring, determine the skills you absolutely need coming in, and which ones you’re willing to train for. Focus on finding employees who fit the culture and show potential.
  3. Recruit on campus: Visiting campuses enables you to speak with soon-to-be graduates one-on-one and get to know them before they even apply. On the flip side, they get to learn about your company and ask questions, so they go into the application process already excited about the opportunity and familiar with your company’s culture.
  4. Ask for employee referrals – Not only is it the number one way employers recruit recent college grads, but hires made through employee referrals have been shown to increase retention and keep hiring-related costs down.

For more insight and resources about recruiting this demographic, check out the recent white paper on millennial job seeker behaviors from CareerRookie.com, a site that matches employers with new or recent college graduates.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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