2012 Job Outlook for Recent College Graduates
It’s graduation season, and if you’re a very recent grad or are just on the cusp of entering the real world, you are probably extremely concerned about the job market. Perhaps you’ve read many reports and opinions about how much more difficult it will be for 2012 graduates to land a full-time job right out of college. Luckily, the latest study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) report that the job market is still showing positive signs.
According to the number of employers surveyed for the study, slightly more than half are planning to increase their number of hires from last year. 50.8% of employers look to increase hires, compared with 47.7% during 2010-2011. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who plan to decrease their number of hires decreased from 12.2% during 2010-11 to 11.8% in 2011-2012.
More than half of the employers who wish to increase their hiring have indicated that they either have more business or are experiencing company growth. Other employers are increasing their hiring rates to replace retiring workers, and still others stated that they want to increase their number of new college graduates within the company.
12% of the employers who are planning to decrease their hiring rates stated that they either had budget concerns or just don’t have any new openings for new college graduates this season.
In total, 165 employers reported that they have 24,356 positions to fill that are available for graduates. That averages to 148 positions per organization.
There’s no doubt that the job market is still unstable for new graduates, who have probably worked extremely hard academically in order to be remain competitive to potential employers. GPA certainly bears much weight, as many industries impose GPA cutoffs when considering new hires.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that GPA isn’t always the only factor that employers take into consideration. Actually, three attributes that would influence employers’ hiring decisions and that are also weighed more heavily than a high GPA (3.0 or more) are the graduates’ majors, whether they held leadership positions, and whether they had been involved in extracurricular activities. Less, though still somewhat, of an influence below having a high GPA is whether the graduate ever did any volunteer work and what school they graduated from.
In addition, previous relevant work experience is an important factor for employers. Three-quarters of those surveyed responded that they prefer relevant experience from their job candidates, while fewer than 18% of employers stated that they prefer any type of work experience.
In terms of the candidates’ skills and qualities, more than 75% of employers surveyed said their new hires must have the ability to work in a team, leadership skills, and good written communication skills. Problem-solving skills, a strong work ethic, and analytical/quantitative skills follow.
Even though the rate of hiring has been fluctuating for quite some time, it has always been the case that being a well-rounded graduate makes the best impression on potential employers. If this hiring season unfortunately passes you, perhaps you should consider taking some time to develop those other skills and qualities that employers are looking for in order to prep for the next season.