Class Of 2016 Forecast: More Jobs & Higher Starting Pay


Business majors have many reasons to give thanks this holiday season. According to the NACE’s 2016 Job Outlook Study released yesterday (November 18th), employers intend to boost spring hiring by 11% — just in time for graduation. Better yet, business majors remain the most in-demand graduates by employers. At the same time, however, the 2016 Class isn’t expected to reap the record salaries and bonuses enjoyed by last spring’s graduates.

The study, which was conducted by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) this fall, was based on responses from 201 decision-makers who hail from employers like Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Dell, DuPont,  General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. Roughly two-thirds of responders were based in the Midwest and the Southeast.


The hiring binge projected by NACE members is actually the highest since 2010, when 19.3% of respondents planned to up their spring hiring for the Class of 2011. It’s also a far cry from 2012, when just 2.1% of respondents expected to beef up their hiring for the following spring. That said, the hiring won’t be consistent across the board. Less than 50% of companies – 46.7% to be exact – forecast hiring growth, with 40.1% foreseeing the same level of hiring and 13.2% predicting a decrease.

The hiring will also be heavily shaped by industry. For example, oil and gas extraction companies surveyed calculated a 57.9% drop in hiring, from 784 actual hires in 2015 to 330 projected hires in 2016. In contrast, companies in the information, construction, and miscellaneous professional services sectors more than offset this decline, with their hiring soaring by 72.5%, 44.2%, and 37.3% respectively this spring. In addition, survey participants in business-related fields like accounting services, finance and insurance, and management consulting also envision a welcome hiring increase of 19.5%, 5.5%, and 4.3% respectively. As a whole, two-thirds of the industry sectors are preparing to hire more graduates than in 2015.

By the same token, the NACE report doesn’t necessarily reflect progress across the board. The percentage of employers with plans to hire international students remains stagnant, dipping slightly to 32.8% this year. What’s more, there are just two industries – computers and electronics and information – where more than half of respondents were looking to hire students from overseas.

FIgure 9


While respondents are far from bullish on the job market for 2016 graduates, you could describe them as cautiously optimistic. 35.9% peg the market as “very good,” up 3.7% over the previous year (and double the percentage for the Class of 2016). Another 6.1% describe the market for new grads as “excellent,” nearly six times the rate of two years ago. However, majority of employers consider the job market to be “good,” with only 12.2% labeling it as “fair.” And here’s the kicker: Not one respondent portrayed the market as “poor.”

(Go to next page to see average salaries of 2015 graduates)

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.