A red-hot job market for new college grads

Here's great news for new college graduates: Job prospects haven't been this good since the dot-com frenzy of 1999-2000.

The market for new hires is strong for nearly all types of new degree-holders, according to Michigan State University's annual collegiate recruiting report that surveyed more than 5,700 employers.

Newly minted MBAs are the grads most in demand. MBA hiring is expected to jump 38 percent during this recruiting season, which is the largest leap since 2007. New Ph.D. graduates will also benefit from the hiring boom, with doctorate holders seeing a 20 percent increase in hiring.

Employers plan to boost their hiring of new grads with bachelor's degrees by 16 percent this year. Americans with a new associate's degree should see hiring jump by 19 percent.

In the past three Michigan State surveys, economist Phil Gardner predicted overall hiring growth ranging between 2 percent and 4 percent, so the new forecast is a tremendous improvement. The survey results are in line with other employment indicators. Last week a report from the U.S. Labor Department concluded the number of job openings recently reached a 13-year high.

What's impossible to predict, Gardner observed, is whether the double-digit surge in hiring new graduates will continue, or is it a one-year phenomenon before the market begins experiencing slower yet steady growth?

The hottest sector in the current recruiting season is information services, which is projected to generate a 51-percent increase in new jobs from last year. The following five sectors are also expected to experience double-digit growth:

  • Finance and insurance -- 31%
  • Professional, business & scientific services -- 24%
  • Government -- 24%
  • Manufacturing -- 17%
  • Nonprofits -- 16%

The report offered several factors for the boost in hiring young grads.

Sixty-eight percent of employers said their companies were growing and needed more educated workers. Twenty-two percent of employers said increased hiring is necessary to fill vacancies left as baby boomers continue to retire. The hiring is also a necessity due to job turnover. More American workers are leaving companies for other positions as the job market has improved.

Employers in the annual survey did express a variety of frustrations with the latest crop of college grads. Students are submitting "lackluster" resumes and "slipshod" cover letters. Many getting interviews, according to the report, "appear unfocused and unmotivated." And those receiving job offers "display unrealistic expectations about starting salaries and ignorance about labor market conditions."