Smaller companies and those without a big national brand may find recruiting the Class of 2018 a little easier this year. The annual college recruiting survey from NACE found employers plan to hire 4% more grads this year than last. That may not seem like much of an edge since it is an increase over 2017, but it’s the lowest increase in NACE’s fall survey in 7 years.
NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, polls its member companies twice a year. The fall survey found that 43.7% of the 201 respondents planned to increase their hiring of graduates. That’s a sizable jump from the 36.3% who expected to increase their college hiring last year. But they scaled back the numbers the were likely to hire. In 2017, NACE’s fall survey showed employers expected to hire 5.8% more grads than the year before.
Most of NACE’s employer members are mid- to large companies — most of the Fortune 500 are represented. So with the big companies scaling back on hiring new grads, that lessens the competition for smaller firms.
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A word of caution: The companies responding to the survey, which was conducted early last fall, said they regularly reassess their college hiring plans. Compared to the 2016-2017 school year, this year they’re doing it more frequently: 10.1% are reassessing weekly, while 27.9% are doing it monthly. Last year, 34.3% reported reassessing weekly or monthly. With the job market getting ever more competitive (another NACE data point — 45.6% of the employers rated the job market for 2018 grads as “Very Good” or “Excellent”), employers could easily decide to up their college hiring.