The organization bases its estimates on the Job Outlook 2008 Fall Preview, which it conducted in July and August, according to Andrea Koncz, employment information manager at NACE. Some 200 of NACE’s employer members from a cross section of geographic locations and industries including service, manufacturing and government participated in the study.
Koncz says the spike in college hiring is no surprise—it’s the fifth straight year the survey projected double-digit growth. Service sector employers will conduct much of the college hiring, with an expected 18 percent increase.
"The service sector is experiencing a lot of growth," Koncz says. "They need talent to help them keep their pace."
Meanwhile, employers in manufacturing say they will augment college hiring by 15 percent. The outlook, however, is not rosy for all employers.
Six percent of survey participants say they plan to trim college hiring. Troubled sectors like the housing market are most likely to cut back, Koncz notes.
Yet, nearly 60 percent of survey respondents say they plan to boost their college graduate hiring in 2008. Koncz doesn’t think a cooling economy will have a negative effect on graduates hunting for jobs—at least in the immediate future.
"Even if there is an economic downturn, new graduates probably won’t feel the squeeze right away," she says. "The demand is just too high to drop off immediately."
An aging workforce adds a degree of insulation for college grads, she says, especially in government and nonprofit sectors.
"Government contractors and agents are concerned about the wave of retirements," Koncz says. "They’ll be hungry for young talent that can help them keep up with business demands."