NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition
mobile menu
  • Employers Expect 5 Percent Increase in College Hiring for Class of 2017

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Employers expect to hire 5 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2017 than they hired from the Class of 2016, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    The increase reported in NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update represents a slight dip from the original 5.8 percent increase that employers projectedin the fall. (See Figure 1.)

    One factor that may be limiting this increase is that the overall hiring projection includes both U.S. and international students who will be hired for U.S. positions, and employers expect to decrease the hiring of international students for these openings.

    Among respondents sharing their international student hiring plans, nearly 46 percent are decreasing their international student hires within the United States and just 24.2 percent are increasing these hires. This is not surprising: When surveyed in the fall, just 27.5 percent of respondents reported plans to hire international students from the Class of 2017, down from 32.8 percent that reported such plans for the Class of 2016.

    Despite the setback for international students, overall, the majority of respondents expect to increase or maintain their college hiring. Currently, less than 10 percent expect to hire fewer new college graduates this year. (See Figure 2.)

    Figure 1: Job Outlook Hiring Projections, 2014 – 2017*

    College Class Fall Spring Update
    2014 7.8% 8.6%
    2015 8.3% 9.6%
    2016 11.0% 5.2%
    2017 5.8% 5.0%
    Source: Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update, National Association of Colleges and Employers. *Please note: Projections for the Classes of 2014 to 2017 are for U.S. locations only.

    Figure 2: Hiring Plans

    Job Outlook Percentage of Respondents Increasing Hires Percentage Maintaining Hires Percentage Decreasing Hires
    Spring Update 2017 37.3% 54.0% 8.7%
    Job Outlook 2017 (Fall 2016) 36.3% 52.1% 11.6%
    Spring Update 2016 40.9% 22.0% 37.1%
    Source: Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About the Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update: The Job Outlook survey is a forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates. Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys its employer members about their hiring plans and other employment-related issues in order to project the market for new college graduates for the current class and to assess a variety of conditions that may influence that market. The survey is conducted in two parts: fall and spring. This release is based on data gathered for the Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update survey, which were collected from February 14, 2017, through March 27, 2017. A total of 160 surveys were returned—a 16.7 percent response rate. By region, 23.8 percent of respondents to the Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update survey were from the Northeast, 26.9 percent were from the Southeast, 31.3 percent were from the Midwest, and 18.1 percent were from the West.

    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 NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media at