The college Class of 2006 will enjoy the best job market in four years, according to a report published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).Employers expect to hire 14.5 percent more new college graduates in 2005-2006 than they hired in 2004-05, according to NACE's Job Outlook 2006 report.
"We saw the job market for new college graduates drop significantly in 2002, and it has been climbing back since then," explains Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. "This is the third consecutive year in which employers have reported plans to increase the number of new college graduates they hire, and this is the best job market we've seen for new college graduates in the past four years."
More than 46 percent of employers responding to the Job Outlook 2006 survey characterized the job market for new college graduates as very good or excellent, compared to just over 29 percent last year at this time. (See Figure 1.)
Responding employers expressed the most interest in students with business, engineering, and computer-related degrees.
Although the job market looks bright, students should be careful not to sit back and wait for an employer to come to them.
"The good news is that many students will have more opportunities available to them," says Mackes. "However, students need to be aware that they have to work to find the right job with the right organization. They should start with their college career center, where they'll find expert advice, resources, and connections to employers and jobs."
Figure 1: Employers rate the job market for new college graduates (2004-05 vs. 2005-06)
Percent of Respondents
2004 - 05
Percent of Respondents
Source: Job Outlook 2006, National Association of Colleges and Employers.
About the Job Outlook 2006 survey: The Job Outlook survey is a forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates. Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys its employer members about their hiring plans for the upcoming class of new college graduates and other employment-related issues. The Job Outlook 2006 survey covers employers' hiring intentions and related issues for the college Class of 2005-06.
To date, two sections of the Job Outlook 2006 survey have been conducted. The first part, the Job Outlook 2006 Fall Preview, was in August and its results released in September.
This press release focuses on the results of the second part of the survey, which was conducted from mid-August through September 30, 2005. The survey was mailed to 1,069 members. Responses were received from 250 members, a 23.4 percent response rate. Of those responding, 48.4 percent were service-sector employers, 40.8 percent were manufacturers, and 10.8 percent were government/nonprofit employers. By region, 33.2 percent of respondents are from the South, 27.2 percent represent organizations in the Midwest, 22.4 percent are from the Northeast, and 17.2 percent are from the West.
NACE will conduct the third and final part of the survey to update hiring projections for new college graduates in April (Job Outlook 2006 Spring Update).
The Job Outlook 2006 report is available from the National Association of Colleges and Employers for $39.95. To order, contact NACE at 800/544-5272 or order online.
About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. NACE maintains a virtual pressroom for the media at www.naceweb.org/press/.
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