Graduation season is upon us, and while Ryan Seacrest and James Franco are imparting wisdom on America’s future, employers nationwide are preparing to welcome a new generation of workers to their organizations.
According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 67 percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 65 percent last year and the highest outlook since 2007. More than a third (37 percent) will offer higher pay than last year, and 28 percent will pay $50,000 or more.
Are New Grads Ready for the Workforce?
At the same time, employers are expressing doubt over whether new grads are ready for the workforce. According to the survey, 24 percent of employers don’t feel academic institutions are adequately preparing students for roles needed within their organizations.
When asked where academic institutions fall short, these employers cited the following concerns:
- Too much emphasis on book learning instead of real-world learning: 47 percent
- I need workers with a blend of technical skills and those skills gained from liberal arts: 39 percent
- Entry-level roles within my organization are more complex today: 25 percent
- Not enough focus on internships: 13 percent
- Technology is changing too quickly for an academic environment to keep up: 13 percent
- Not enough students are graduating with the degrees my company needs: 11 percent
New grads’ soft skills – or lack thereof – pose the most concern for employers. When asked to name which skills they think recent college graduates lack for the workplace, most of these employers cited interpersonal or people skills (52 percent) or problem-solving skills (48 percent). Other skills included:
- Leadership: 42 percent
- Teamwork: 39 percent
- Written communication: 37 percent
- Oral communication: 37 percent
- Creative thinking: 35 percent
Salary Expectations for Recent Grads
Perhaps in hopes to attract the best and brightest, more than a third of employers who plan to hire recent college graduates this year (37 percent) will offer higher starting salaries than they did last year.
Expected starting salaries for recent graduates break down as follows:
- Under $30,000: 25 percent
- $30,000 to less than $40,000: 28 percent
- $40,000 to less than $50,000: 20 percent
- $50,000 and higher: 27 percent
Not only are they being more generous with their salary offers, they are also being more flexible: The majority of employers (67 percent) say they are willing to negotiate salary offers for recent college graduates.
See more results from CareerBuilder’s College Job Forecast.