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Warming Trend in Job Market Continues for 2012 U Grads

May 7, 2011 — Undergraduate students who walked in the University of Utah commencement ceremonies this year can take comfort knowing that the job outlook is continuing to improve for new graduates as the economy rebounds.

According to Stan Inman, director of U Career Services, employers are particularly focused on hiring new graduates, as they implement a long-term strategy for growth. Hiring new graduates represents the best value in talent acquisition for employers, who are now more confident in the in the economic recovery,

Inman cites a regional report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that says employers expect to increase hiring by 9.5 percent over the class of 2011.  Hiring increases are also expected across all industries, and the median starting salary for bachelor’s degree students is up 4.5 percent from those posted in 2011. NACE salary data is based on actual starting salaries, not offers, and because the data comes from employers rather than voluntary reports by students, the report is very encouraging.

“In Utah, we are very fortunate to have a more robust job outlook than that of the nation or the western United States,” says Inman. He notes that many companies are finding Utah a great place to locate or expand. The demand for new graduates from the higher education institutions has steadily been increasing and has reached a level not seen for several years. Currently, the University of Utah Career Services Office has over 500 active jobs posted for new graduates and alumni.

“The resurgence in our economy is very welcome,” Inman says. “Majors across the board are getting attention, and it is worth noting that this survey shows that employers seek the best talent, regardless the student’s major.” The data shows that 35 percent of employers seek students with all types of degrees. “Time and again, I am reminded that employers look for individuals who can solve problems and manage priorities,” Inman continues. “Those skills are essential to the undergraduate experience in any major course of study at the U.”

Students with internship experience continue to be in high demand. Most of the employers with formalized internship programs want to convert students into professional positions, and about 60 percent follow through.

Data from the NACE Winter Salary Survey shows that all majors are important to most employers. Companies are recruiting heavily in information technology, computer science and business. The four most popularly targeted majors in the survey were accounting, marketing, finance and computer science—all very popular majors at the U. From 2006 to 2011, accounting and finance held 25 and 32 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded respectively at the U’s David Eccles School of Business. Marketing was responsible for 13 percent of the business degrees, and undergrads who were awarded a computer science degree made up 16 percent of the College of Engineering majors.

The NACE Spring Update shows that projected hires in 2012 are up in all regions compared to 2011, with employers in the west reporting the biggest increase at 32.8 percent. More good news is on the horizon as employers’ confidence continues into the fall. A third of employers expect to hire more students in 2012, up from 29 percent in both 2011 and 2010. Fewer employers report they are unsure about future hiring plans, just 18 percent for 2012, down appreciably compared to 24 and 32 percent in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

While many companies have already taken down their “help wanted” signs and snapped up this year’s fresh crop of college grads, there is still some time for those U graduates who haven’t yet stepped onto their career path. But, a word to the wise—get your resume in order and start prepping for your interview. The employers surveyed said that compared to those seeking jobs five years ago, the current graduating population has much more competitive and better prepared resumes, but their interviewing preparations leave a little to be desired. Having both might just seal the deal, Inman notes.

U graduates and alumni who seek career advice are encouraged to call University Career Services at 801-581-6186, or visit