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  • College Hiring Projected to Increase by 4 Percent in Strengthening Market

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Employers plan to hire 4 percent more new graduates for their U.S. operations from the Class of 2018 than they did from the Class of 2017, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    While the 4 percent increase anticipated by employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2018 survey is lower than the hiring projections over the past several years, it continues to point to a positive job market for new college graduates. (See Figure 1.) Further evidence of this positive trend can be found by comparing individual hiring expectations from last year to this year and from assessments of the job market by employers themselves.

    When comparing individual hiring expectations from last year to this year, 36 percent of employers responding to last year’s Job Outlook 2017 survey planned to increase hiring, and more than half of respondents had plans to maintain their hiring numbers.

    This year, the percentage of responding organizations that plan to increase their hires has increased to 43.7 percent, with those maintaining their numbers dropping to 46.7 percent. Also this year, fewer than 10 percent plan to cut their number of hires. (See Figure 2.)

    Among those employers planning to increase their hires, company growth, retirements, and the need for entry-level talent were the primary drivers behind hiring plans.

    Meanwhile, the percentage of employers that rate the job market as “very good” has reached a four-year high.

    Nearly 40 percent of employers responding to the Job Outlook 2018 survey rate the job market as “very good.” This is up from around 30 percent last year. (See Figure 3.)

    To further underscore employers’ improving perception of the job market, their “fair” and “poor” ratings are at their lowest points in recent years, with less than 10 percent of respondents rating the market as “fair” and no respondents rating it as “poor.”

    Still, akin to results in recent years, the largest percentage of responding employers this year—nearly half—has rated the job market for college graduates as “good.”

    Figure 1: Job Outlook Hiring Projections, 2012 – 2018*

    Class Year Fall Spring
    2018 4.0% NA
    2017 5.8% 5.0%
    2016 11.0% 5.2%
    2015 8.3% 9.6%
    2014 7.8% 8.6%
    2013 13.0% 2.1%
    2012 9.5% 10.5%
    Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers. *Years 2014 through 2018 are the hiring projections for U.S. locations only. Projections provided for 2012 and 2013 include hiring projections for U.S. and non-U.S. locations; they are provided for informational purposes only and should not be compared to projections for 2014 and beyond.

    Figure 2: Employers’ Hiring Expectations

    Recruiting Year Increase Maintain Decrease
    2017-18 43.7% 46.7% 9.6%
    2016-17 36.3% 52.1% 11.6%
    2015-16 40.1% 46.7% 13.2%
    2014-15 46.4% 45.9% 7.7%
    2013-14 48.6% 45.3% 6.1%
    2012-13 47.5% 42.4% 10.1%
    2011-12 50.8% 27.4% 11.8%
    Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers.

    Figure 3: Employers Rate the Job Market for 2017-18 Graduates

    Academic Year Employer Rating
    Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor
    2017-18 7.4% 38.2% 46.3% 8.1% 0.0%
    2016-17 7.6% 29.2% 53.5% 9.0% 0.7%
    2015-16 6.1% 35.9% 45.9% 12.2% 0.0%
    2014-15 3.6% 33.2% 51.6% 11.2% 0.4%
    Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About the Job Outlook 2018 survey: Data for the Job Outlook 2018 survey were collected from NACE’s employer members from August 9, 2017, through October 2, 2017. A total of 201 surveys were returned—a 20.5 percent response rate. Of those responding, 14.4 percent of respondents were from the West, 25.9 percent were from the Northeast, 23.9 percent were from the Southeast, and 35.8 percent were from the Midwest. The Job Outlook 2018 report is available for purchase at www.naceweb.org/store/2017/job-outlook-2018/.

    About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media at www.naceweb.org/about-us/press/.