Employers are expected to increase their hiring of new college graduates this year at a higher rate than anytime since 2007.
Hiring of recent grads is predicted to rise by nearly 17 percent compared to 2018, according to an annual report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The last time employers increased their hiring of new grads that much was 2007, when it rose by more than 19 percent, according to NACE.
This year’s projection jives with what career services leaders at area colleges say they’re seeing in the market as graduating seniors start their job search. Area colleges, including the University of Dayton, Wright State Univeristy, Wittenberg University and Miami University, will all host commencement ceremonies in May.
“All indicators that I’ve seen show that its going to be as good if not better than it was for the class of 2018,” said Jason Eckert, director of career services at UD. “I think we’re looking at a very positive outlook.”
Increased hiring among businesses is mostly fueled by a continually improving economy, anticipated retirements and a heightened focus on planning for the future, companies told NACE. Employer attendance at career fairs has been high over the past year, a signal that often indicates strong hiring for new grads, said Jeff Reep, career services director at Cedarville University.
Several of the fastest growing career fields include health care, information technology and engineering, among others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In some cases businesses are offering students bonuses and higher salaries in an effort to recruit them quickly, career services directors said.
Some students, such as UD senior Andrew Truskowski, already have jobs lined up.
After graduation, Truskowski will move to St. Louis, Missouri where he will start a job as an aerodynamics engineer at Boeing. It was his dream, Truskowski said, to work at a company focused on aerospace right after college and at Boeing he’ll be working on projects for the federal government.
Truskowski said he expected he would be hired before graduating because of the current economy and good job outlook. But, landing his position at Boeing was still “a huge relief,” he said.
“It definitely feels really good,” Truskowski said. “There’s a lot more jobs opening up…the time is really good right now to (job search).”
Truskowski recommended students try to make connections with people in their career field as early as possible. He said that’s what led to him to get a job before he even graduated.
Internships can often lead to good connections and experiences employers look for, such as one Truskowski said he completed last year with the Air Force. Internship hiring is also expected to rise by 2.6 percent this year and according to NACE they can get grads a foot in the door as more than 45 percent are eventually hired into full-time positions.
When it comes to pay, there are several factors students should consider, both Eckert and Reep have said. Jobs in bigger cities tend to pay more, they said.
Students also shouldn’t shy away form trying to negotiate on salary and benefits because often employers are open to it, Reep said. Negotiating a higher salary upfront, Reep said, can also “pay dividends” down the road.
“At this point it’s a pretty positive market out there,” Reep said. “In career services, I think we have a pretty good job because we have a pretty good product to sell.”
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