At Hofstra University's jobs fair and at college campuses nationwide, there's a growing optimism about the jobs picture for graduating seniors. A new study out Thursday by Michigan State University predicts a 20 percent increase in hiring for this year's grads — the first increase in four years.
Mario Mejia, a graduating senior on the hunt for that first job, was initially concerned.
"Then I started looking into what my major was — accounting — and I saw there was a lot of recruiting being done for it," she says. "So I stopped worrying so much about it."
Michigan State and the National Association of Colleges and Employers report that accounting, engineering and business majors are most in demand, but there are opportunities for all grads as employers across the economy — from retailers to the once-struggling manufacturers — look for help.
William McCoy runs a financial consulting firm. For the first time, he's on campus looking for two or three graduating seniors.
"These are newly created positions, due to our growth," says McCoy.
At Hofstra, more companies are recruiting on campus, but it’s still a far cry from the late 1990s, when students had their pick of opportunities.
"We've seen a slight comeback, which is encouraging for college graduates because, believe me, in the last few years, it’s been devastating for them," says Jennifer Ruggiero of the Hofstra University Career Center. "All the hard work they're putting in for the college education, and they haven't seen the great payoffs."
And when it comes to paychecks, there's some good news there as well. The studies report employers are increasing their salary offers by a modest, but respectable, 3 percent to 4 percent.
The situation is a reflection not so much of an improving economy, but of necessity.
"We're moving back into a hiring mode just because they need to have some new people in their organizations," says Dr. Phil Gardner of Michigan State, who worked on the study.
The nation's college seniors are eager to step up and put their education to work.