EMPLOYERS HAPPIER WITH GRADUATES THAN EVER
So how are graduates doing in relation to the key skills that employers need? Despite the usual outcries that graduates aren’t ready to work and compete, employers carry a different perception. Reality is, graduates would make any honor roll based on their attributes according to survey respondents. In this survey, students earned an A- grade for teamwork, up from a B last year. They also scored B+ grades in areas like problem-solving, initiative, and leadership. Their worst grade, of course, came in written communication skills – but even that was a B. In short, graduates are more than meeting expectations – and those good feelings will no doubt trickle down to the 2016 Class come hiring time.
Such upbeat sentiments may also explain the downward trajectory of experience. This year, just 64.2% of employers preferred to hire candidates with relevant work experience, down from 72.5% in 2014 and 74.1% in 2013. This gap has been made up by employers looking for any type of work experience, with that number rising from 20.1% to 27.0% in the past year.
Although employers are looking to hire in the spring, most have wrapped up the majority of their campus recruiting efforts. 19% of firms surveyed have already concluded their campus recruiting entirely. And just 29% of employers gear their recruiting efforts to the spring – down from 34% in 2015. What’s worse, only 41.3% of companies have firm recruiting plans in place for the spring. As a result, seniors who failed to engage with recruiters will face a steep climb to find work in the coming months.
And that’s particularly true as recruiters have cut back in outreach over the past year. Barely 54% use social networks to communicate with students, down from 64.7% in NACE’s 2015 report. While 34.2% of respondents share that they are attending more career fairs (up 2.1%), another 30.3% admit to participating in fewer fairs (up 6.4%). The percentage of firms traveling less to recruit also climbed 2.5%, from 20.1% to 22.6%. In other words, students who strike first and precisely are in a better position to capitalize on the greater opportunities and higher pay that will be afforded to the Class of 2016.