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Hire a Graduate Part I: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for 2015 College Graduates

The good:

Companies are planning to hire more recent college graduates this year than in 2014


“New college graduates have better prospects this year than in years past – both in terms of opportunities and salary offers,” said Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer of CareerBuilder.

CareerBuilder recently surveyed 2,175 hiring managers and human resource professionals to see if their companies were planning to hire 2015 college graduates and the results are promising—in fact, it's the highest outlook since 2007.

2014 vs. 2015 by the numbers:

  • 2015: 65% of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates

  • 2014: 57% of employers said they were planning to hire college graduates


College grads are expected to have higher salaries

According to the same survey, one third of employers will offer higher pay than they offered in 2014, and one in four companies plan on paying 2015 college grads over $50,000 as a starting salary.

Expected salaries for 2015 college grads:

  • Under $30,000: 26%

  • $30,000 to less than $40,000: 28%

  • $40,000 to less than $50,000: 20%

  • $50,000 and higher: 26%

The compensation package (salary plus benefits) offered for recent college grads is also a bit higher. 18% of companies are offering more than they did in 2014, 81% of companies are offering the same amount as they did last year, and just 1% are offering less.

Pro Tip:

When pursuing a new job, have realistic salary expectations. Different salaries are offered for different industries, positions, and experience levels.  Make sure to research positions to see what the typical starting salary is.

The bad:

Employers believe recent graduates are lacking important hard and soft skills


Hard Skills

Unfortunately it’s not all good news for 2015 college grads. Some employers are not hiring recent college graduates because they believe they’re lacking certain skills. According to a study by Society for Human Resource Management, the top three hard skills employers think 2015 college graduates are lacking are:

  • Writing in English (grammar, spelling)

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Mathematics


Pro Tip:

There are ways to improve these skills. Sign up for newsletters to publications in your industry; commit to reading one book a month; attend writing seminars or even webinars to improve grammar; or work with a math tutor. Make sure to strive to improve these skills.


Soft Skills

According to the same CareerBuilder survey, 21% of employers believe 2015 college graduates are coming out of school lacking important soft skills.  The top four soft skills companies believe new college grads are lacking are:

  • Interpersonal Skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Oral communication skills

  • Leadership skills


Pro Tip:

There are ways to learn these soft skills:  apply for internships, seek volunteer opportunities, coach an intramural sports team, etc. Do something challenging, something uncomfortable to generate personal growth.

The ugly:

According to an analysis of government data by Mark Kantrowitz, a publisher at Edvisors, a group of websites about planning and paying for college, the class of 2015 has a LOT of debt. They are the most indebted class ever. The average 2015 graduate will have a little over $35,000 in student loan debt. This is probably related to the fact that students are having to take out more loans to compensate for their school. About 71% of 2015 college students will graduate with a student loan to pay back.

Want to learn more about the class of 2015? Stay tuned for the release of our white paper, "Find and Hire the Right Graduate" tomorrow at 10:00 am CST.