Job outlook for new college grads is good

An annual survey by the American Society of Employers that took a wide-ranging look at the current state of salaries and benefits produced good news for 2019 college graduates and co-op students.

The survey also presented employers with a glimpse of recruitment trends associated with new entrants to the workforce.

The survey indicated the low national unemployment rate could benefit college graduates, as more and more companies are creating engagement programs to retain their employees, creating a “war for talent.” Businesses are stepping up their recruitment strategies as a result, with 30% of companies increasing recruitment efforts toward college graduates, a 7% increase from 2018.

Additional survey highlights include:

  • Nearly three out of four (74%) respondents say their company has hired or plans to hire, a recent college graduate in 2019, similar to what was reported in 2018.
  • The data suggests that the top five in-state institutions Michigan organizations actively recruit from are the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Oakland University, Lawrence Technological University and Kettering University.
  • The top three most popular technical bachelor’s degree disciplines hired in the past year were mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.
  • The top three most popular nontechnical bachelor’s degree disciplines hired in the past year were human resources/labor relations, finance and accounting.
  • The top three knowledge/skill factors organizations consider when making hiring decisions, in order, are related coursework, computer skills and internship/work experience.
  • The top three perceived shortcomings of recent college graduates are career expectations (62%), adaptation to work environment (60%) and compensation expectations (53%).

Of the six disciplines identified in the survey, the highest starting salaries were in the engineering disciplines. The average starting salary for electrical engineering was $68,330, and for mechanical engineering, the average was $66,305. Finance came in at $53,981 and computer science salaries started at $53,445. Beginning pay in human resources/labor relations was $49,144, and accounting came in at $44,646.

The survey separated co-op workers and interns by technical and nontechnical roles. The average hourly rate for a college senior in a technical field is $17.84 an hour, and $16.20 hourly for a nontechnical field.

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