Hey College Applicants: Understand the Job Market First

What does the job market look like for new college grads?

Nearly 2,000 employers responded.

College applicants shouldn’t expect to attend college and be set for life. Your student’s up-to-date knowledge of their potential professional fields is crucial for a successful application, enjoyable time in college, and good return on investment.

We review Michigan State University’s 51st Annual Recruiting Trends Survey & Report, conducted by director Dr. Phil Gardner and his team at CERI, the Collegiate Employment Research Institute.


Highlights include:

  • One reason 4-year colleges win over 2-year colleges
  • How much do recruiters actually care about your college’s location
  • The two surprising majors that do not expect starting salary increases in 2022

Link to the report here.

4-Year College Grads See More Recruiters Than Do 2-Year College Grads

Nearly 90% of responding employers focus their recruiting at four-year public and private (not for profit) institutions. Forty-two percent also work with two-year community colleges and 34% look to for-profit institutions for talent.

While two-year community colleges are affordable, accessible, and often offer just as high-quality instruction (if not better) as four-year institutions, there is one downside.

Among the employers that responded to the survey, less than half work with two-year community colleges. In comparison, 90% of employers focus on hiring graduates of four-year institutions. When considering where to attend college, employability and access to employers is important.

Takeaway: If getting a good job out of college matters, consider where employers are likely to focus recruiting efforts (in this case, four-year colleges over two-year colleges). Graduates of four-year colleges may more quickly find gainful employment with higher starting salaries than grads of two-year colleges. This can ultimately offset the higher costs of a four-year college degree.

Recruiters accept college grad job applicants nationwide

In a noticeable shift, more employers indicated that they were taking advantage of digital opportunities to expand their reach for talent. As one recruiter offered in a comment, “Today, we can recruit students anywhere in the country. Though we still emphasize the regions where we have offices and facilities, we are accepting candidates regardless of geographic location.” The recruiting management systems that campuses utilize to support their students’ job search are now open to all students and employers, marking the growth of a more national college labor market.


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