Hiring for Business Graduates Projected to Increase Despite Concerns About Economy

Recruiting activity on college campuses will occur at a hectic pace all year long based on reported hiring activity by 994 employers the Recruiting Trends 2007-2008 survey. Seniors in BA/BS programs can expect more opportunities this year with employers expected to increase the number of opportunities 7% over last year. Alternatively, total hiring across all degree levels is expected to increase by a modest 2%.

Small and medium-sized employers are cutting back on their hiring plans because of concerns about the economy. They are particularly worried about the availability of credit, the increasing costs of material and supplies, and the upward pressure on salaries and health care payments. The exception is employers with fewer than 100 employees who are expected to increase hiring by 12%.

The real muscle in this year’s market is being provided by our study’s largest employers (>3,900 employees). These companies have a voracious appetite for labor in anticipation of retirements. Large employers are also carrying forward unfilled positions from last year. Overall, large employers expect to increase bachelor hiring by 9%. Looking at specific majors, these employers expect to increase hiring for engineers by 12% to 14%, business by 13%, and social science/humanities majors by 20%.

Computer science majors (all types) will enjoy a very good labor market. Information technology (IT) majors are the only ones that all companies, regardless of size, will be hiring. While the increase of 4% in opportunities may seem modest, the supply of new IT graduates will be over shadowed by the demand. In fact, employers may have to cut back their expectations because of the unavailability of qualified candidates.

MBA graduates will also see a strong market with a 7% increase in hiring.

Starting salaries for bachelors graduates are expected to increase by 4% to 5%, which is double the increase offered in each of the previous two years. About 15% of employers expect to increase salaries more than 5%. Bonuses and other inducements, such as student loan payments, will also be offered by companies. However, many bonuses will be paid at the completion of the first year of employment.

New graduates are expected to bring energy, enthusiasm and drive to their new employers, in addition to fresh perspectives and computer skills. Employers remained troubled by new hires’ attitudes and lack of commitment to the company.

The following 2007-08 collegiate recruiting trends were gathered by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University. CERI is nationally recognized for its research on the transition from college to work; employment readiness of college graduates; and the transition experience through college (“the sophomore year”). Thanks to Erin Leifker, UW-Eau Claire Career Services for sharing this information with us.

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