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  • Employers Report Fewer Offers, Acceptances in 2018

    March 15, 2019 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    <p>A student interviews for a job.</p>

    TAGS: trends and predictions, surveys, benchmarks, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Both the job offer and acceptance rates for college graduates fell in 2018, which could be attributed to the unemployment rate or to other factors associated with the job market.

    Overall, 40.5 percent of graduates who interviewed for a job received an offer, according to NACE’s 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report. This represents a decrease of more than 5 percent from last year’s report. In similar fashion, the overall acceptance rate fell—from 68.2 percent in 2017 to 66.9 percent this year. (See Figure 1.)

    Changing rates—even those that drop—aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, higher offer rates and lower acceptance rates, when occurring together, generally signal a more robust college hiring market. However, in last year’s market when students received fewer offers, they still tended to be more selective about the offers they did receive.

    One possible cause of the anomaly between the offer and acceptance rates is the unemployment rate for young college graduates (ages 20 to 24). In 2018, the market for college graduates became somewhat softer, which is why the offer rate was down and the unemployment rate was up.

    It is more likely that 2018 graduates continued the trend established over the previous three years when the market was improving, particularly for the previous graduating class in 2017. Thinking they could do better given how hot the market was for the previous class, graduates in 2018 were more selective and the acceptance rate dropped.

    Data collection for NACE’s 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report took place from June 20, 2018, to September 10, 2018; 218 firms participated. The 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report is available free to members through MyNACE. An executive summary of the report is available through the NACE Store.

    Figure 1: Mean Offer and Acceptance Rates, and Unemployment Rate for Young College Graduates: 2015-18

    Year Offer Rate Acceptance Rate Unemployment Rate
    2018 40.5% 66.9% 5.5%
    2017 45.6% 68.2% 3.7%
    2016 45.5% 71.8% 5.4%
    2015 37.6% 73.7% 5.9%
    Source: 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers