Employers anticipate hiring more college graduates in 2011

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    Employers anticipated hiring more college graduates in 2011 compared to a couple years ago, Executive Director of Career Services John Thompson said he found in a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey. Despite the increase in college graduates with jobs, there was not a faster hiring process.

    According to the preliminary results of the NACE survey, hiring 2011 college graduates is expected to increase 21 percent compared to last year.

    More people applied for jobs and employers took their time in choosing who they wanted, Thompson said. Instead of college graduates receiving a job within six weeks of graduation, the estimated time became about three months, he said.

    Allison Marshall, a senior strategic communication major, said about half of her friends in her class had a job offer, while the other half continued searching for one.

    In addition to expanding the job search area, Marshall said students have looked into alternatives such as internships. She said she believed employers looked more at what professional experience students had more than any other factor.

    With a need for workers after the recession began, an opportunity for businesses arose to hire temporaries and interns, Thompson said. Employers cut costs and reduced their workforce, but the same workload had to be done with less people. That created a need for workers.

    In addition, companies expanded in some departments, Thompson said. Part of the reason they grew was due to the additional social media departments at most companies.

    Claire Cannan, a senior strategic communication major, said because the younger generation knows how to use Facebook and build a website, more companies realize the benefits of hiring recent college graduates.

    Also, hiring younger, less experienced workers provided companies a chance for work to be done at a cheaper price, Thompson said.

    “They’re willing to give up the experience for cheaper labor,” he said.

    Cannan thought the advantages to hiring a college graduate outweighed the lack of experience. She said her generation could multitask, was eager to work and wanted to complete tasks quickly.

    Marshall also said by hiring younger people, the long-term effects could be beneficial. Younger employees may be more likely to stay with a company for longer periods of time.

    Also, she believed recent graduates had a better grasp of adjusting to the changing world, she said. She felt graduates could better apply what they obtained in class as opposed to the older generation who did not retain everything learned in college.

    The technology savvy college graduates helped decrease their own unemployment rate, but the general population’s was still high, Thompson said.

    At about 9 percent, the general population’s current unemployment rate did not paint an accurate picture of who actually is or is not employed, Thompson said.

    Although the unemployment rate fell since the recession began in 2008, Thompson said there was an assumption made that people stopped looking for work after not being able to find employment. Because of that assumption, the unemployment rate appeared lower than it actually was; however, if it was counted correctly the unemployment rate would rise.

    Yet, for college graduates the unemployment rate expected to decrease according to NACE results.

    Also, Thompson said he has seen an increase in employers wanting to add younger people to their staff.

    Marshall said she believed companies’ stronger desire for college graduates helped both her and her peers, as well as employers.

    “Hopefully it’s easier for us to get jobs,” she said. “For the employers, it’s easier to keep somebody younger because they pick things up quicker.”