Recent College Grads and the Tough Search for Employment in 2011

Jul 14, 2011
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Recent College Grads and the Tough Search for Employment in 2011

Alexandria, Va. – A new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows a job market so tough for recent college graduates that their perceived strength and weakness rank the same.

When asked what advantages recent college graduates have in the hunt for employment, 30 percent of HR professionals responded, “they are seeking entry-level positions and that is what we are hiring for.” Unsurprising to many following the economy, the same number of HR professionals responded they are not hiring for entry-level positions, leaving the recent college graduate at a notable disadvantage.

While their comfort with gadgets earns the top spot among the list of advantages —34 percent of HR professionals said recent college grads are more likely to be viewed as highly tech savvy—it’s often not enough to secure employment.

Almost four in 10 (37 percent) polled said 2011 college graduates “are more likely to be under-qualified for the jobs they apply for.” Add to the situation the 21 percent of HR professionals who said their company has limited resources to train recent college graduates, and the employment outlook grows bleaker.

“Networking is key in 2011,” said Evren​ Esen, manager, Survey Research Center at SHRM.“HR professionals recommend recent graduates and those soon to graduate utilize their university career center programs and official graduate recruiting channels. In addition, joining a membership association in the field graduates want to enter can help in the form of networking and mentoring opportunities.”

For those lucky enough to land employment, the jobs were “mostly full-time” permanent positions said 76 percent of HR professionals polled. Six percent were mostly temporary or contract positions while another six percent were mostly part-time positions. Twelve percent were a mix of all positions.

College graduates from top colleges and universities are at an advantage noted 22 percent of HR professionals polled who said, in 2011, the economic climate has made it easy to hire such graduates.Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) of HR professionals confirmed what many job seekers already know—the economic climate has increased the competition for jobs among graduates in 2011.

Will things change when the economy turns around?—A bit.Roughly 64 percent of HR professionals said their company will target 2011 university and college graduates to a “small extent” as the economy improves. Only five percent will target hiring of new graduates to a “large extent” while 18 percent will do so to “some extent.”Fourteen percent of HR professionals said they “will not hire” new graduates in 2011.

Surveyed were 348 randomly selected HR professionals from SHRM’s membership. The poll was fielded late April through mid May of 2011.

For details, visit the survey section of SHRM Online at Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview with a human resource expert, contact Julie Malveaux of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6273, or Jennifer Hughes at 703-535-6072,


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.

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