• The job market for college graduates is rebounding, according to a survey.
  • Employers still need to work on hiring goals during ongoing uncertainty over supply chain problems, staffing issues, and concerns about future inflation.

The job market for new college graduates is rebounding from the COVID-19-driven decline, according to a new survey.

Employers who had slowed recruiting during the pandemic have accelerated efforts to fill pressing hiring needs, says Phil Gardner, author of Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute annual Recruiting Trends survey and director of the institute.

“Add to this the historically high quit rate—and many employers are eager to find new talent,” Gardner says.

“This research is significant to employers and career services professionals nationally, as the scope and scale of this research is unmatched. Unlike many other sources, it is without bias because it is conducted following academic research requirements,” says Jeffrey Beavers, executive director for Michigan State’s Career Services Network within the Division of Student Affairs and Services.

a chart showing employer optimism for college jobs
Many employers are eager to find new talent.
Image: Michigan State

“The insights are also significant, especially this year, as we seek to understand the post-COVID college labor market, and supply and demand of entry-level and early-career talent.”

While much of the report is positive, Gardner says employers are still working on hiring goals during ongoing uncertainty over supply chain problems, staffing issues, and concerns about future inflation.

One issue being resolved, according the survey, is that digitally enhanced recruiting—virtual and assisted by artificial intelligence—is here to stay.

“This shift will require more self-discipline and self-management of the recruiting process by students who will have to schedule their interviews, manage career fair appointments, and directly connect with employers,” Gardner says.

In addition to these notable findings, insights from the 2021 Collegiate Employment Research Institute annual Recruiting Trends survey, include:

  • Outlook for 2022 is the highest since the 2008 recession.
  • Among the top five sectors are health services, education services, agriculture, transportation, and construction.
  • Bachelor’s degree hiring is expected to be up 15%.
  • Master’s and MBA hiring appears to be weak and remains mostly at last year’s levels with 42% of employers planning to reduce hiring targets and 40% increasing those.
  • 53% of starting salaries will increase in 2021-2022.
  • 46% of employers are planning for new hires to work onsite and 28% are planning for hybrid.
  • On average, employers are conducting seven to eight interviews before making a single offer.
  • Nearly 30% of employers expect the tenure of their new hires made during the COVID-19 pandemic will be shorter than pre-COVID hires.
health and healthcare, COVID

How has the Forum navigated the global response to COVID-19?

One year on: we look back at how the Forum’s networks have navigated the global response to COVID-19.

Using a multistakeholder approach, the Forum and its partners through its COVID Action Platform have provided countless solutions to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, protecting lives and livelihoods.

Throughout 2020, along with launching its COVID Action Platform, the Forum and its Partners launched more than 40 initiatives in response to the pandemic.

The work continues. As one example, the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs is supporting 90,000 social entrepreneurs, with an impact on 1.4 billion people, working to serve the needs of excluded, marginalized and vulnerable groups in more than 190 countries.

Read more about the COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, our support of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemics Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), and the COVAX initiative and innovative approaches to solve the pandemic, like our Common Trust Network – aiming to help roll out a “digital passport” in our Impact Story.

A complete summary of the report is available here.