April 27, 2007 — Rising salary offers to new graduates and a 20 percent increase in hiring projections for 2006-7 should give the class of 2007 something to celebrate beyond commencement.
According to a recent poll of colleges and universities conducted by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers have revised their earlier hiring projections up from 17.4 percent to 19.2 percent, meaning that employers plan to hire nearly 20 percent more new college graduates in 2006-7 than they did in 2005-6.
In addition, starting salary offers to new college graduates continue to rise. The spring 2007 issue of NACE’s Salary Survey shows that, at the bachelor’s degree level, nearly all of the majors that reported a change in their average starting salary offer reported increases.
Several factors indicate a booming job market. Business growth and expansion, as well as increased emphasis on college hiring all contribute to the rosy job outlook.
According to NACE’s survey, starting salary offers to graduates increased across the board, with the highest percent increase in marketing which rose 10.3 percent to $41,285.
The smallest increase went to liberal arts graduates whose average offer as a group rose 1.2 percent to $31,333.
NACE’s survey reports that the top paying jobs by average starting salaries in 2007 are:
- Chemical engineering ($60, 054)
- Computer engineering ($55,936)
- Industrial/manufacturing engineering ($54,769)
- Electrical/electronics and communications engineering ($54,599)
- Mechanical engineering ($54,587)
- Computer science ($51, 070)
- Finance ($47,905)
- Civil engineering ($47,145)
- Management information systems/business data processing ($46,568)
- Accounting ($46,508)
Utah graduates can expect a similar trend. The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) notes that the state’s economy has been on fire with growth rates about three times the national average. This, combined with a slowly shrinking labor pool, has left employers scrambling to find workers for openings at all levels, particularly for jobs requiring higher skills and education.
Stan Inman, director of Career Services at the University of Utah, notes the same pattern holds true at the University. Inman says that of those graduates surveyed, 51 percent report they have already accepted, or will carry on with their current employment. Seventeen percent will continue their education. “One interesting figure is that of those reporting employment, 85 percent are ‘in-state.'”
If the national job outlook is good, then Utah’s is excellent. With an unemployment rate 2 percent lower than the national average (2.4 percent, compared to 4.4 percent), the class of 2007 is facing what the DWS calls a “seller’s market,” where the seller is the perspective employee, the graduate ready to start his or her career.
“We have experienced four consecutive years of increased demand for college graduates, with some employers reporting a 15 to 25 percent increase in hiring projections,” says Sam Morrison, employer outreach coordinator at U of U Career Services. “Nursing, civil engineering and construction management are in high demand and low supply. Demand for all engineers and technically trained graduates is strong. Beginning salaries reflect the need for new college graduates with projected increases in starting salaries of 4.5 to 5.5 percent.”
Will the demand continue? The DWS projects the following jobs to experience the greatest increase in numbers from 2004 to 2014:
- General and operations managers (4,950)
- Elementary school teachers (4,030)
- Accountants and auditors (3,420)
- Computer software engineers/systems software (2,860)
- Computer software engineers/applications (2,290)
- Computer systems analysts (2,240)
- Secondary school teachers (2,170)
- Construction managers (1,830)
- Lawyers (1,780)
- Financial managers (1,760)
Inman says employers report that the most effective way they find potential employees is through on-campus recruiting and internship programs. “Employers are looking for graduates who have had real-world experience before graduation,” he says.
“Education and a college degree is still the best investment you can make,” says Inman. “For each year of post-high school education, students can expect a 15 to 20 percent increase in compensation, which calculated over a lifetime is extremely significant. In fact, the ten highest paying occupations in Utah all require a degree.”
The U’s Career Services Library, which contains information on a wide variety of topics, including career/major research, job search strategies and employment trends, is open to students, faculty and staff as well as the general public. U graduates may use these resources indefinitely, although after two years they are charged a nominal fee for any alumni career counseling. For more information on career trends and opportunities for college graduates, visit the University of Utah’s Career Library, 350 Student Services Building, open weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., call 801-581-6186 or visit http://careers.utah.edu/.