Earning your degree this spring? You may have a better chance at landing a job than friends who graduated just a year or two ago. According to international news agency Reuters, hiring is “back in a big way” on many college campuses across the country, a sign that the U.S. job market may be on the road to recovery.
College graduates have struggled to find employment during the last four years, but large companies like IBM, General Electric and Amazon are once again searching for prospective employees on campuses. Some college students are even receiving multiple job offers, which has job hunters feeling hopeful.
A National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) study found that hiring is expected to increase 10.2 percent this year and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill career service office reports a 7.4 percent increase in interviews of students by potential employers over last year. The University of Florida fall career fair was attended by 15 percent more companies than the year before and 150 companies asked to conduct interviews on campus—compared to roughly 100 in recent years.
During the recent U.S. recession, the unemployment rate among college graduates reached as high as a staggering 5 percent. The entire U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent this past February while the jobless rate for college grads over age 25 was 4.2 percent. Kathy Sims, UCLA’s Director of Career Services, claims that the increase in hiring is “kind of like a no-brainer” because “the economy is better and the college recruitment market is improving.”
“Even students with lower grades are finding opportunities,” encouraged Notre Dame’s Lee Svete. One American University senior reports that “people are excited” on campus and feeling optimistic about getting jobs.
The media reports that it’s also a good time to become an intern. General Electric’s Steve Canale explains, “(Companies) are saying, ‘we have an aging workforce, and we have to replenish the pipeline.’ GE has always done it, but this year a lot of other companies are also reloading their talent pool.” GE plans to hire 5000 interns this year rather than its usual three to four thousand. The company hires approximately 70 percent of its full-time employees from the intern pool.
Auto manufacturer Chrysler plans to hire 400 interns—an increase over 2011’s 256 interns—and has also hired about 4000 full-time salaried employees since June 2009.
NACE reports that earnings for college grads are also on the rise. The organization states that the median wage for first-time job hunters after college 2012 has increased 4.5 percent from 2011 to over $42,000. Due to the fact that many college grads have also been underemployed since 2008, the workforce is full of college-educated Americans working low-paying jobs in fields they never intended to enter. Reuters explains this means that in addition to new college grads, there are plenty of other educated workers who need to get back on track.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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