With the college spring semester under way, CollegeGrad.com has released the results of its annual employer hiring survey. 2017 was the highest level of entry level hiring on record and, while 2018 continues to be robust, there are also some signs of weakening. Compared to last year, a high number of employers reported hiring changes—both increases and decreases—of greater than 10 percent. Perennial frontrunner Enterprise Rent-A-Car leads the way with 8,500 entry level hires for 2018, a slight drop from 2017.
While overall hiring estimates are down slightly, many employers will hire more entry level hires than in 2017. Caterpillar(69%), Carahsoft (34%), Raytheon (31%), and Eight Eleven (28%) are all planning for significant hiring increases this year. Just over 40 percent of employers are reporting planned increases for 2018. The full results of the Top Entry Level Employers survey are available online at CollegeGrad.com/topemployers.
The stock market started off 2018 with strong gains, an early indicator of potential economic growth, but hiring does not yet reflect this bullish trend. One reason is that many employers finalize hiring projections by fall of the previous year, although some are revising estimates from their original plans. Professional services firm BDO USA increased its estimate to 1000 from an initial projection of 800. 2017 was a banner hiring year at the entry level and, if the economy continues to grow, 2018 could turn out to be as good or better.
“Our hiring remains strong as we expand our search for different areas of expertise,” says Blane Ruschak, Executive Director of University Relations and Campus Recruiting for KPMG. “In addition to accounting, engineering, computer science and data analytics are becoming critical to meet the demands of our clients’ evolving business needs.” The audit, tax and advisory firm plans 3,000 entry level hires for 2018.
College seniors still face stiff competition, especially as employers wait to see if the current economic growth is part of a larger trend before investing in additional talent. Launching the job search while still in school is critical since most entry level hires are made before graduation. Many positions for the class of 2018 have already been filled.
Brian Krueger, Founder and CEO of CollegeGrad.com stated, “Even though there are entry level jobs available in most sectors, college seniors need to take the time necessary to find the right job to meet their personal needs.” Krueger added, “Finding the right entry level job will launch your career trajectory for years to come. It’s vitally important to get it right from the start.”