SHRM Poll: Hiring Picks Up for College Grads


A new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll released on July 14, 2011, appears to have some good news for college students and graduates who are looking to enter the job market. The poll of nearly 350 HR professionals throughout the United States revealed that the number of employers hiring undergraduates in 2011 jumped 11 percentage points, from 30 percent to 41 percent, when compared to the results of a similar poll conducted in 2010.

The number of businesses hiring postgraduates also increased, from 20 percent in 2010 to 26 percent in 2011.

The poll found that slightly more than three-quarters (76 percent) of college undergraduates and graduates were hired to fill full-time positions, which was a modest increase from the 2010 poll’s results of 74 percent.

According to the most recent poll data, only 16 percent of the respondents reported that undergraduates or graduates possessed advantages over other job applicants, while 42 percent indicated that recent college graduates actually had fewer advantages.

When asked to name the benefits of hiring college undergraduates and graduates, the poll participants listed “highly tech savvy” as the top response. Just over a third (34 percent) of the respondents selected that advantage compared to 42 percent who chose “tech savvy” as the No. 1 advantage in 2010.

More than two-thirds (69 percent) of the 2011 poll respondents said that the economic climate will continue to pose employment challenges for undergraduates and graduates. More than a third (37 percent) of the participants reported that undergraduate and graduate job applicants were likely to be underqualified for the positions they are seeking.

The poll revealed that large organizations (100 or more employees) were more likely to have hired full-time, part-time and/or temporary staff within the previous three months compared with smaller organizations (fewer than 100 employees). Large organizations were also more likely to indicate that they have hired 2011 undergraduates and graduates within the same three months.

Bill Leonard is senior writer for SHRM.