Companies are still hiring college graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Each year, NACE publishes projections of the hiring landscape for college grads. The most recent Job Outlook publication points to a promising future and far better circumstances than students who graduated amid the Great Recession experienced. Here are the highlights of the spring2017 update, which addresses the job outlook for the class of 2017:

More jobs …

Employers taking the annual survey reported that they would hire 5 percent more new college graduates from the class of 2017. This projection is in line with final projections reported by employers in the 2016 survey (they initially anticipated 11 percent but ended the 2016 cycle estimating a 5.2 percent increase).

But a relatively flat hiring market.

About 54 percent of employers surveyed reported that they will maintain hiring numbers this year, while 37.3 percent expect to increase hiring. On the bright side, most employers that reported plans to maintain (but not increase or decrease) their hiring levels indicated that they’re experiencing a stable workforce and consistent workload.

College matters.

About 13.3 percent of the survey respondents indicated plans to hire associate degree graduates, while slightly more than 99.2 percent indicated plans to hire bachelor’s degree graduates. Graduate degree holders can feel confident as well—53.3 percent plan to hire MBAs and 58.3 percent plan to hire graduates with other master’s degrees.

High demand for engineering, business, and computers sciences, and accounting .

As far as hiring expectations by major, demand is highest for graduates who studied engineering, business, computer sciences, accounting, and economics (from highest to lowest demand). Here at FRCC, this means that pursuits like  Architectural Engineering & Construction, Accounting, Business, Computer Information Systems, and Computer Science are excellent choices.

GPA matters.

70 percent of employers plan to use GPA to screen job candidates from the class of 2017. Among those employers, more than 60 percent will use a cutoff of 3.0 GPA.

Teamwork and problem-solving skills matter too.

The top attribute sought by 78 percent of employers surveyed: the ability to work on a team. Next highest was problem-solving skills (77.3 percent of respondents), written communication skills (75 percent), and strong work ethic (72 percent). Other attributes considered of greatest importance included verbal communication skills, leadership, initiative, analytical skills, and flexibility.

Learn more, earn more.

The NACE emulates this mantra of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “The more you learn, the more you earn—and the less likely you are to be unemployed.”

For associate degree holders, the unemployment rate is just 3.6 percent as compared to 5.2 percent for those with a high school diploma. That drops to 2.7 percent for bachelor’s-degree holders. Bottom line: Go to college! It pays off. The median weekly earnings (full-time wages) is $692 for those with high school diplomas, $819 for those with associate degrees, and $1,156 for those with bachelor’s degrees. Notice the trend?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers is the leading source of information on the employment of the college educated, forecasts for hiring, and trends in the job market, among other information. To learn more about the NACE Job Outlook 2017 survey and publication, visit


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