Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More for the class of 2008 (and beyond)

From the Black Collegian Online

College Graduates Benefit from Large Retiree Pool
By Phil Gardner

Hot Majors! Hot Jobs!

From the compiled list of majors that employers indicated they were interested in recruiting, approximately 50 percent were seeking business majors (not including marketing and accounting), 36 percent engineering majors, 22 percent computer science, 19 percent marketing, accounting 17 percent, and 28 percent social and humanities majors. From this list we pulled what appear to be the majors most in demand.

Hot Majors

Civil Engineering

Environmental Sciences



Electrical Engineering


Business Administration


Mechanical Engineering

Computer Science (all)




While mortgage lending firms are not hiring to any great extent, other financial services and insurance companies have plans to increase hiring by 17 percent. The professional services sector that is the home for engineering services, accounting, management consulting, scientific research, marketing research, public relations and advertising firms is expecting to increase hiring by 13 percent. However, some subsectors such as advertising and public relations are bracing for a slowdown if the economy should weaken further.

Government is expected to remain strong for selected agencies. However, federal budget limitations have caused some agencies to retrench from early forecasts for increased hiring. Hospitality opportunities in restaurants and lodging establishments remain strong.

Starting Salaries

Forty-six percent of the employers who reported their starting salaries indicated they do not plan on raising salary levels from last year. Fifty-three percent will raise salary offers by an average of 4.2 percent. This increase is nearly double the amount indicated last year. Twenty-five percent of those reporting salary are preparing to make significant salary increases from 5 to 15 percent. Based on the salary information provided for this study, the average starting salary at the bachelor’s level is estimated to be approximately $43,500. This figure is tilted toward the higher salaries offered in technical fields. The following list provides a sample of starting salaries for selected majors. More detailed salary information can be found at our Web site. (http://www.ceri.msu.edu/).

All Associates




Accounting (MS)$54,100

Engineering (MS)


Selected Bachelors





Computer Science$50,200

Mechanical Engineering $50,900

Electrical Engineering$53,200

Chemical Engineering$53,600

Civil Engineering$48,000


Liberal Arts$34,700



Social Sciences$32,300

Employers would like to avoid paying a new hire a bonus; only 10 percent indicated that they would. However, employers may have to reconsider, especially those hiring engineering, accountants, computer science majors. Because the market is competitive for these majors, bonuses are becoming more common. A method that 20 percent of employers are using in an effort to limit turnover is to offer a bonus or performance premium at the completion of the first year of employment.

Do Employers Really Like College Graduates?

Based on stories in the media, it would seem that employers are frustrated by the attitude and lack of commitment displayed by some young adults. So we went in search of what employers like about new college hires. Young adults, we found, bring more positives than negatives to the workplace. Young adults come with plenty of enthusiasm, fresh ideas, technical aptitude, and solid communication skills. These were the top four attributes listed by employers. Also in the mix are team work, willingness to learn, adaptability (can handle change), and analytical thinking.

The Best Way to Land a Job: Internships

The largest expansion in hiring will be from employers using their internship and co-op talent banks. In fact employers are adamant that college students must have an internship or relevant work experience to even be considered for employment. Internships offer a more realistic idea of what being in the adult world is like, as well as how to behave and what will be expected of a new employee. Employers are so focused on these experiences that 50 percent indicated that it is now necessary for candidates to have two internships prior to graduation. The need to have multiple experiences can be traced to two immediate factors: 1) being able to differentiate students quickly when dealing with a large pool of applicants; and 2) a new hire with more workplace skills and exposure will get off to a faster start.

Final Thoughts

This year’s labor market promises to be a good one for college seniors! If seniors started their job searches in the fall or at least began the process by preparing resumes and identifying potential companies, they will be in a better position to land a job. But the early bird may be the winner. The economy has continued to weaken since the fall. This weakness may cause employers to pause and reevaluate whether to hire during the spring. Those who procrastinate may find the labor market closer to graduation to be very different from the market described by employers back in the fall.

Companies of Recruiting Trends 2007-2008 can be ordered from Instructional Media Center at Michigan State University phone: 517.353.9229 or through the web: http://orders.oip.msu.edu/product_p/470.04.htm

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