Retail, insurers drag down hiring projections for 2018 graduates

Class of 2018 college graduates face positives and negatives in the job market. (Pixabay)

It’s graduation season, and in between looking at highlights from celebrity commencement addresses—“I’m Batman,” anyone?—graduates are likely checking the online job boards. What they find could be a mixed bag, reports show.

On the positive side, unemployment sits at 4.1%, the lowest in 17 years, and college grads are seeing impressive starting salaries, according to a recent CNBC article. What’s more, new grads are likely to get higher salaries across 10 degree categories, including business and the humanities, than their Class of 2017 friends got.

But the National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, predicts a 1.3% decrease in hiring of college grads compared to 2017. Six months ago, NACE had a different outlook, reporting that employers plan to hire 4% more new grads in 2018.

“Two industries in particular are driving this overall decrease,” a NACE release stated. “Insurance firms responding to the Job Outlook 2018 Spring Update survey anticipate decreasing hires by 42% due to the recent natural disasters—hurricanes, floods, and wildfires—that caused high dollar amounts in catastrophic losses. Meanwhile, retail employers plan to decrease their hires by almost 33%, citing the changing landscape of their industry and lack of new openings as key factors.”

This is NACE’s first projected decrease in hiring since 2010, when employers planned to cut hires by 7%, the release added.

Still, the Job Outlook 2018 report that NACE released in November 2017 said that 43.7% of responding organizations said they plan to increase hires, up from 36% in the 2017 report.

Additionally, 38.2% of employers told NACE they rate the job market as “very good,” up from around 30% in 2017.

Gary Burnison, CEO of executive search firm Korn Ferry, said in another CNBC article that recent grads should think of their careers in 12-to-18-month chunks, putting into motion a short-term plan rather than stressing over finding their ideal job right away. Job-hopping early on in an effort to get to a dream job isn’t the best strategy, he said.

“You are just starting a marathon,” Burnison told CNBC. “So you shouldn’t have the mindset that you have to find a dream job right away. The most important thing is that you are learning and growing.”