Employers project hiring 7.2% more new college graduates from the Class of 2021 than they hired from the Class of 2020, according to NACE’s Job Outlook 2021 Spring Update. That’s a sharp increase from fall 2020, when employers expected to reduce college hiring slightly.
The rebound in hiring suggests optimism on the part of employers, fueled by expectations around the reopening of shuttered businesses, COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and the addition of jobs to the economy. While not at the pre-pandemic hiring levels seen in 2019, the overall increase does signal strong movement in a positive direction.
Further evidence of the rallying job market for college graduates is evident in the individual hiring plans of respondents to this survey. Almost 30% of respondents now report that they will hire more new college graduates—up from 16.5% in the fall—and just 8% plan to decrease hiring, down significantly from 31% reporting such plans in the fall.
The Job Outlook 2021 Spring Update survey updates hiring projections for the Class of 2021. The original projections were reported in Job Outlook 2021, which was published in October 2020. The Job Outlook 2021 Spring Update survey was conducted from February 17 – March 12, 2021. Of the 207 total respondents, 146 were NACE employer members, representing 17.1% of eligible member respondents. The Job Outlook 2021 Spring Update survey was also distributed to nonmember companies; this group provided an additional 61 responses. The Job Outlook 2021 report is available in MyNACE.