2016 brings both good news and strong challenges for those students who will be looking to transition into the workforce after graduating college. According to a survey of 201 Companies by the National Association of College and Employers, average starting salaries for new graduates will increase by 5.2% over those earned by the class of 2015. Overall hiring for entry-level positions is expected to rise by 15% led by opportunities in Information/technology and Accounting. But perhaps the most encouraging news noted by employers is that 6.1% rated the job market as excellent for new grads up from 3.6% in 2015 and 1.1% in 2014. All good news for those looking to make the transition from campus to a career.
But 2016 does not come without its set of challenges. The market is highly competitive with over 1.8 million new graduates expected to compete for entry-level positions. Early indications show the class of 2016 will graduate owing the most student loan debt in history (over $35,000 per borrower) with every $30,000 in student debt cutting as much as $325,000 from 401(k) balances by the time the borrower is ready to retire. Never has it been more critical for students to be fully prepared for the transition from campus to career. In order to succeed in their job search, students need to have a well thought out comprehensive plan. With the ratio of average number of students at a 4-year college to number of career services professionals falling at 2,672-1 it is incumbent on the student to own and execute this plan. Relying on parents, friends, professors, or career service departments to lead you through the job search process is not a successful strategy for post-graduation employment.
Do you have a plan?