Help wanted. Really.

In case you haven’t heard, hiring’s cool again.

Even though we won’t get another set of official numbers from the Department of Labor until later this week, we’ve got another indicator pointing to a recovering job market.

After nearly a half-decade drought, college campuses are witnessing the return of employers looking for eager young workers. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring’s expected to jump 10.2 percent for the newest graduating class – that’s higher than the 9.5 percent jump employers expected back at the start of the school year. It’s also the second year in a row employers adjusted their numbers upward in this poll.

Even better, employers reported a jump in the average number of jobs they posted, according to the NACE study, up to 116 from 105 last year.

But the return to college campuses shows an optimism we haven’t seen in a while, an encouraging sign no survey number can adequately quantify. And while this is great news for a hungry work force, for benefits managers and human resource professionals, it means you’re job just got a little bit harder.

Keep in mind, this is a talent pool with a jobless rate about half of the general population: back in February, college graduates reported a scant 4.2 jobless rate. Oh, and that lower starting salary you’re used to is gone. In fact, the NACE study suggests the median wage for first-time job hunters is up nearly 5 percent to $45,569.

So, again, if you’re hiring, the competition’s gotten a lot tougher out there. You better make sure you have what it takes to compete.

About the Author
Denis Storey

Denis Storey

Denis Storey is editor for BenefitsPro.com and Benefits Selling magazine. He can be reached at dstorey@benefitspro.com.

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