HR News & Trends, Recruiting and Staffing

Today’s College Recruiting Picture: It’s Finally Starting to Perk Up

College graduates

Things are looking modestly up for most college graduates this coming year (and perhaps a bit more competitive for recruiters).

That’s the broad conclusion of a recently released report by Dr. Phil Gardner of the College Employment Research Institute. Tipped off to me by Matthew Stollak, the report is long and intensive. Unlike whitepapers, infographics and simplistic research we often get to see in employment, the conclusions in the report don’t fit nicely wrapped with a bow on top.

Mostly though, the news is good for recent grads and the employment market in general.

Getting back to pre-recession levels

One good piece of news is that employer perceptions of the college labor market are trending to pre-recession levels.

While the researchers say that the growth has been modest, it has continued to grow year-over-year since 2009. They also pointed out that only 22 percent of hiring managers entered the college recruiting season with plans to hire. That seems low but plans can change, especially in the first quarter of the year.

Another item of note is that both Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees are going to see continued growth this year (with Associate’s degrees seeing the highest increases). Both of those are offset slightly with news that the market for MBAs is going to decline this year.

Recruiting strategies? Career fairs still dominate

Probably the most interesting part for recruiters is the section that focuses on recruiting strategies. In that section, they dive into the strategies that employers are using in college recruiting. Career fairs (both general and targeted) seem to drive most of the hiring in this sector, while on-campus interviews, information sessions, alumni programs and social media play major roles as well. National web aggregators and ads grew the most in the last year.

From past conversations with a few people in recruiting and sourcing who specialize in the college niche, it seems like most would like to steer some resources away from these resource-intensive, in-person events. Given how much they drive hiring in the college market though, it is hard to see how a company could really afford to heavily divest in this area.

If you have any involvement in your company’s college recruiting strategy, I would encourage you to dive deep into the full report.

Lance Haun is an editor at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing agency focused on the enterprise HCM market. He spent three years as an editor at ERE Media and seven years in the recruiting and HR trenches before joining the agency. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, check out his blog or contact him directly at lance@coug.rs.