Employers expect to hire more new grads this year than they did last year, although they’ve scaled back their plans over the past few months.
Companies plan on hiring 5.2 percent more members of the Class of 2016 than they did members of the Class of 2015, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update.
That’s good news for graduates, although employers were more optimistic last fall, when they projected that they’d hire 11 percent more new grads. It also reflects slowing growth. Employers hired 8.6 percent more new grads in 2014 and 9.6 percent more in 2015.
It’s still a competitive job market, and the ability of students to find jobs will depend on both their majors (those with business, engineering, and computer science degrees are most in demand), and their locations. A recent NerdWallet analysis found that Arlington, Virginia; Madison, Wisconsin; and Washington, D.C., are the best cities for 2016 grads looking for work.
Earlier research by NACE found that the level of starting salaries varied by major. Engineering students can expect the highest starting salary, an average of $64,891, up from $62,998 last year. Education majors, by comparison, were projected to earn an average of $34,891 in their first year in the work force.
Once they land that first job, today’s college grads aren’t likely to stay put for very long. More than 70 percent of recent grads leave their first job within their first year, according to data from Express Employment Professionals.