Prospects Improve Slightly for 2010 Grads

Three job forecasts appear to support what many agencies are beginning to witness–a slight uptick in new hiring and cautious optimism for increased hiring during the rest of the year.

Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas provides a dose of reality, however, by pointing out there are more than five job seekers for every opening.  Judging from the growing stacks of resumes on HR directors’ desks, PR job-seeker ratio is even higher.

“This is not to say that soon-to-be graduates should give up hope,” says John Challenger. “There are opportunities out there, but entry-level job seekers will have to dig for them.  They may have to look outside of the industry or career path they envisioned pursuing immediately out of college. They may need to look in parts of the country they might not have considered previously. They will have to look beyond the on-campus job fairs.” 

CareerBuilder’s Annual Job Forecast provides similar insights, noting the job market for 2010 college grads will remain highly competitive, but is showing some signs of improvement.  The total number of employers planning to hire recent college graduates this year is only a percentage point higher than last year.  However, one-in-five employers who are hiring recent college graduates said they will hire more than they did last year.  Sixteen percent also reported they will offer higher starting salaries than they did in 2009, up 5% from last year’s survey.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2010 Spring Update offers a bit more hope, claiming employers expect to hire 5.3 percent more new college graduates this year than they hired last year.

NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes says this is the first positive hiring outlook for new college graduates since October 2008.  This is a vast improvement over earlier predictions that hiring would be down 7% compared to last year.  “We’re seeing hiring increases in nearly all the reporting industries,” Mackes says.  Fingers crossed this trend continues. 

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