Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | June 2, 2010

SHRM Poll: College Graduate Hiring Declines

Hiring of new college graduates has dropped significantly despite gradual improvement in the U.S. economy and the overall job market, according to a new poll  by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Thirty percent of SHRM members surveyed in April 2010 said that in the past three months they have hired one or more 2010 university or college graduates to start working before or after graduation. That’s down from 39 percent of respondents in 2009 who had hired new grads.

The drop in hiring was less steep for people who are completing postgraduate degrees in 2010; 20 percent of organizations said they have hired people with graduate degrees, down from 22 percent in 2009. A mix of small, medium and large organizations were polled. Just over half are privately owned for-profit organizations; 70 percent are U.S.-based, while 30 percent are multinationals.

A substantial majority of poll respondents—74 percent—said new college graduates were mostly hired for full-time positions. The most common reason cited for not hiring a new graduate was not having a job opening at that experience level, cited by 65 percent of respondents to the 2010 SHRM poll. A year earlier, 74 percent of respondents cited no openings. Thirteen percent cited a hiring freeze in 2010; 15 percent in 2010 said university graduates were overqualified for open positions. Only 4 percent said that their decision not to hire new graduates was based on the difficulty of finding qualified candidates from that candidate pool.

Half of respondents said an improved economy will prompt them to “a small extent” to target new college graduates for open positions. Twenty-eight percent said economic improvement will influence them to “some extent” to target graduates; 22 percent said they will not hire such applicants.

“According to HR professionals,” the SHRM poll report states, “recent graduates are in a less advantageous position than other types of job seekers because of the economic climate. The 11 percent of respondents who indicated that recent graduates had an advantage said that the reason these candidates are desirable is because they are seen as tech-savvy and because they are seeking entry-level positions.”

A lack of experience was seen as much less of a disadvantage for new college graduates in 2010—cited by 35 percent of respondents—than in 2009 (77 percent of respondents).

New graduates are less satisfied with the salary they were offered in 2010 than new graduates were a year earlier, according to the SHRM poll.

A survey released in April 2010 by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. found that weakness in the entry-level job market could force some new graduates to accept low-paying service sector positions or accept unpaid internships. The Challenger survey found that the graduates with the best chance of employment success in 2010 are those with degrees in health care-related fields, such as nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy services and medical technician specialties.



  1. This seems obvious. Due to layoffs in the economy the job market is flooded with professionals seeking jobs. Since there are less jobs, people are looking at less paying jobs taking away potential jobs for new graduates.

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