What You Need to Know About 2014–2015 College Recruiting Trends

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Did you know that on November 10, 2014, AfterCollege, Stanford University, and the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University collaborated to host the Recruiting Trends Symposium at Stanford? In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of the day (and what the findings might mean for you).

It was a crisp autumn morning on the Stanford campus. Red and orange-tinged trees shimmered in the breeze, and students whizzed past Paul Brest hall on their bikes. Inside the hall, a number of students, employers, and career counselors gathered to learn the latest trends in university recruiting.

Dr. Phil Gardner, director of CERI, presented the findings of his institute’s annual report on the state of university recruiting and shared some of his predictions for the future.

dr phil gardner

Dr. Phil Gardner presenting on college recruiting trends for 2014–2015.

A few standout points included:

Overall outlook: the future is bright

  • 2014–2015 is looking to be the biggest year in recruiting since 2007
  • 97% of companies surveyed expect to hire at least one new grad
  • 40% of companies expect to increase hiring targets

A few concerns (AKA the working dead)

    • Turnover is at its highest level of concern since 2007; poised to leave indices are high; and job satisfaction is so-so
    • The main reason for job dissatisfaction is salary
    • Baby boomers are working longer—37% of them expect to work into their 80s

Industries hiring the most recent college grads: Now vs. then

In 1985

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Finance and insurance
  • Government

In 2015

  • Business, professional, and scientific services
  • Non-profits
  • Government
  • Health services
  • Finance and insurance

Smooth sailing for the internship

    • 92% of organizations with intern/co-op program will hire
    • 40% of organizations will provide more opportunities than last year
    • The number of paid internships is on the rise
panelists at stanford event

Various stakeholders in university recruiting shared their opinions in the panel discussion.

After Dr. Gardner presented the results from his survey, he was joined on stage by Dawn Carter, Director of Global Relations at NetApp; Andy Ceperley, Associate Provost/Consultant, Career and Professional Development at Loyola Marymount University, Elizabeth Woodson, Stanford’s ASSU President, and Jennifer Rutt, Associate Dean of Career Education and Director of Career Ventures at Stanford. The panel was moderated by Farouk Dey, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Career Education at Stanford.

dr farouk dey

Stanford’s Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Career Education Farouk Dey moderated the lively discussion.

This cross-disciplinary panel represented a range of stakeholders in university recruiting, and some of the most pressing issues included the transition from a transactional to a transformational model on the career services side, finding the right people at the right time and contending with visa issues on the employer side, and for students, the sense that there’s an absence of opportunities connected with their passions or that they’re often pressured to fit into certain pre-determined career paths, regardless of where their true interests lie.

What this means for you: You may be facing fiercer competition on campus as more organizations are looking to hire new grad talent. An increasing number of career centers are operating on a “pay to play system,” which may also have an impact on your ability to get involved with multiple departments or career centers. Students are also starting to play the system a bit and renege on their offers if something bigger and better comes along. Check out this post to learn how Salesforce keeps students engaged during that long period between when an offer is extended and the actual start date.

The importance of having a solid internship program will only continue to grow over time, as the race for talent moves the recruiting process up earlier in students’ academic careers. Internships are becoming a major talent pipeline and continue to help you solidify your employer brand when students return to campus and share their experience with their friends and classmates. Check out these posts on building a strong internship program and making the most of this branding opportunity.

Finding meaning in their work and feeling like their passions are encouraged are motivating factors for an increasing number of students. This is great news for non-profits and other mission-driven organizations. If you don’t fall into that category of employer, you’ll still want to think about how you can get students excited about your organization and the work they’ll be able to accomplish there. Not sure how to do this? We have a few posts that cover storytelling and content marketing in a university recruiting context.

What issues are most on your mind during the 2014–2015 college recruiting cycle? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to address them in a future post.

Find more information on Dr. Phil Gardner’s work and some of the most significant findings in the 2014–2015 report on the CERI website.


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