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Employers plan to hire 4 percent more new college graduates for their U.S. operations from the Class of 2018 than they did from the Class of 2017, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

 While the 4 percent increase anticipated by employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2018 survey is lower than the hiring projections over the past years, it continues to point to a positive job market for college graduates.

 When comparing individual hiring expectations from last year to this year, 36 percent of employers responding to last year’s Job Outlook 2017 survey planned to increase hiring, and more than half of respondents had plans to maintain their hiring numbers.

 This year, the percentage of responding organizations that plan to increase their hires has increased to 43.7 percent, with those maintaining their numbers dropping to 46.7 percent. Also this year, fewer than 10 percent plan to cut their number of hires.

 Among those employers planning to increase their hires, company growth, retirements, and the need for entry-level talent were the primary drivers behind hiring plans.

 Meanwhile, the percentage of employers that rate the job market as “very good” has reached a four-year high.

 Nearly 40 percent of employers responding to the Job Outlook 2018 survey rate the job market as “very good.” This is up from around 30 percent last year. (See Figure 3.)

 To further underscore employers’ improving perception of the job market, their “fair” and “poor” ratings are at their lowest points in recent years, with less than 10 percent of respondents rating the market as “fair” and no respondents rating it as “poor.”

 Still, akin to results in recent years, the largest percentage of responding employers this year—nearly half—has rated the job market for college graduates as “good.”

Job Outlook Hiring Projections, 2012 – 2018*

Class Year

Fall

Spring

2018

4.0%

NA

2017

5.8%

5.0%

2016

11.0%

5.2%

2015

8.3%

9.6%

2014

7.8%

8.6%

2013

13.0%

2.1%

2012

9.5%

10.5%

Source: Job Outlook 2018National Association of Colleges and Employers. *Years 2014 through 2018 are the hiring projections for U.S. locations only.

 

 Employers’ Hiring Expectations

Recruiting Year

Increase

Maintain

Decrease

2017-18

43.7%

46.7%

9.6%

2016-17

36.3%

52.1%

11.6%

2015-16

40.1%

46.7%

13.2%

2014-15

46.4%

45.9%

7.7%

2013-14

48.6%

45.3%

6.1%

2012-13

47.5%

42.4%

10.1%

2011-12

50.8%

27.4%

11.8%

Source: Job Outlook 2018National Association of Colleges and Employers.

 

Employers Rate the Job Market for 2017-18 Graduates

Academic Year

Employer Rating

Excellent

Very Good

Good

Fair

Poor

2017-18

7.4%

38.2%

46.3%

8.1%

0.0%

2016-17

7.6%

29.2%

53.5%

9.0%

0.7%

2015-16

6.1%

35.9%

45.9%

12.2%

0.0%

2014-15

3.6%

33.2%

51.6%

11.2%

0.4%

Source: Job Outlook 2018National Association of Colleges and Employers

Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org.

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