Class of 2016 College Graduate Hiring Forecast Best in 10 Years

Roy Maurer

Two-thirds of employers plan to hire from this year’s crop of college graduates, up 2 percentage points from 2015 and representing the rosiest outlook in a decade, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

The national survey of 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals conducted between February 10 and March 17 found that 37 percent of hiring employers plan to offer college graduates higher pay than last year. Fifty-three percent expect no change in salary offers, and 11 percent expect a decrease in starting salaries.

“In addition to an improving economy, we are beginning to see a rising number of retirements, which is creating more room for advancement and creating opportunities for entry-level candidates,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder.

More than half of these employers (52 percent) say they will make offers to students before they graduate, and the majority of employers (67 percent) say they are willing to negotiate salary when extending a job offer.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update report found that while the forecasted hiring activity for the Class of 2016 is positive, the current hiring projections are less than the heady 11 percent increase over the previous year that employers originally reported to NACE in November 2015. Employers expect to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates from the Class of 2016 than they hired from the Class of 2015, according to the updated report. 

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