Hiring Outlook Positive for Class of 2015 College Graduates, SHRM Survey Shows

Compensation remains the same, yet college students report pay as top job priority

Apr 16, 2015
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — One-third of organizations (35 percent) have already hired college students to begin working before or after their 2015 graduation, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Hiring of 2015 College Graduates Survey released today.

But there is still time for college students to apply for jobs, as almost two-thirds of organizations (65 percent) have not yet hired 2015 college graduates. Of these organizations, the majority (71 percent) still plan to hire graduates, an 18 percent increase since 2013.

“During the recession, many companies may not have focused recruiting efforts on college graduates because of a lack of openings and limited turnover. But now we are beginning to see entry-level hiring pick up,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at SHRM. “Compared to recent years, 2015 college graduates can be optimistic in their job search.”

Although more organizations are planning to hire college graduates in 2015, young job seekers may be disappointed to find that salaries have not increased since last year. Eighty-one percent of companies offered graduates about the same compensation package (salary plus benefits) as in 2014.

Yet according to the survey, young job seekers ranked pay as their top job priority, tied with career advancement opportunities (both 59 percent). This was followed by training (50 percent), meaningful work (44 percent), organizational culture (35 percent) and work/life balance (34 percent).

“There is somewhat of a disconnect between what companies are offering and what young job seekers may expect in terms of compensation,” said Esen. “With limited growth in wages across all jobs, companies facing recruiting difficulties can offer professional development and workplace flexibility to attract college graduates.” 

Organizations faced the most difficulty recruiting for positions in science (36 percent), trades (30 percent), engineering (30 percent) and technology (29 percent). As an effort to overcome recruiting difficulties for highly skilled positions, almost one-half of employers (46 percent) offer training programs for recent graduates with limited work experience.

The survey also found that companies are still using traditional methods to recruit college graduates such as collaborating with colleges and universities (89 percent) and posting jobs on the company website (60 percent). About half (52 percent) are using social networking websites to recruit college students.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Laura Ambrosio of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6273 and Laura.Ambrosio@shrm.org or Kate Kennedy at 703-535-6260 and Kate.Kennedy@shrm.org. ​

About the Society for Human Resource Management
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.
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