Hiring of new college graduates is expected to increase by 4 percent this academic year, the second year of hiring growth after plunges of 35 to 40 percent in 2008.
A survey by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University polled 3,300 employers. Nearly 40 percent said they would hire from all fields of study, though a third had decided to cut back on hiring. Seventy percent didn’t plan to raise salaries for new graduates.
Computer science remains one of the white-hot majors, with more positions available than qualified candidates. For instance, more than 50 tech companies were recruiting at the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering in October, though Ed Lazowska, a professor there, says most recruiting is aimed at sophomores and juniors for internships that lead to permanent jobs. He argues that limited capacity in computer science departments, a problem only made worse with university budget woes, exacerbates the shortage of qualified technology workers.
Meanwhile, a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) finds that many companies are pulling back a bit from campus recruiting. It says 77.4 percent of responding organizations are conducting on-campus interviews, a slide from 77.7 percent last year, and a drop a dip from the 90 percent that did so in 2004. Yet the survey found those who are recruiting on campus are hiring proportionally more people than in 2004.
And what they’re looking for? Team spirit. In the NACE research, the top three skills cited were:
- Ability to work in a team structure
- Verbal communication skills
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems
Technical skills fell further down the list, and writing skills landed near the bottom. That’s puzzling since business schools reportedly are increasingly emphasizing writing ability because of employer complaints.