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Job outlook for new college grads is good

Job outlook for new college grads is good

Article courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

ASE recently released the results to the 2019 Starting Salaries for Co-op Students and Recent College Graduates Survey. The annual survey provides a comprehensive look at the current state of wages and benefits provided to co-op students and recent college graduates.  The survey also presents employers a snapshot of the recruitment trends associated with these new entrants to the workforce. The outlook for 2019 graduates is good.

The low unemployment rate might be playing in favor of college graduates.  More and more companies are creating engagement programs to retain their employees, so organizations are in a “war for talent.”  Organizations are realizing that this new talent entering the market is an important target for their recruitment efforts.  30% of the companies surveyed have increased their hiring efforts for college graduates this year compared to last year. That’s an increase of 7% from 2018.

Additional Survey Highlights: 

  • Nearly three out of four (74%) respondents say their company has hired, or plans to hire, a recent college graduate in 2019, similar to what was reported in 2018.
  • The data suggests that the top five in-state institutions Michigan organizations actively recruit from are: 1) University of Michigan; 2) Michigan State University; 3) Oakland University; 4) Lawrence Technological University; 5) Kettering University.   
  • The top three most popular technical Bachelor-degree disciplines hired in the past year were: 1) Mechanical Engineering; 2) Electrical Engineering; 3) Computer Science.
  • The top three most popular non-technical Bachelor-degree disciplines hired in the past year were: 1) HR/Labor Relations; 2) Finance; 3) Accounting
  • The top three knowledge/skill factors organizations consider when making hiring decisions, in order, are: related coursework; computer skills; and internship/work experience.
  • The top three perceived shortcomings of recent college graduates are: 1) career expectations (62%); 2) adaptation to work environment (60%); 3) compensation expectations (53%).


Of the six disciplines named above (Accounting, Finance, HR/Labor Relations, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, andComputer Science) the highest starting salaries went to the engineering disciplines.  The average starting salary for Electrical Engineering was $68,330; and for Mechanical Engineering the average was $66,305.  Finance came in at $53,981; Computer Science $53,445; HR/Labor Relations $49,144, and Accounting came in at $44,646.

Pay rates for high school and college co-ops and interns were separated by technical and non-technical roles; the average hourly rate for a college senior in a technical field is $17.84 an hour and $16.20 for a non-technical field; the average hourly rate for a college junior in a technical field is $16.72 an hour and $15.17 for a non-technical field. 

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