By Andrew Chimka
Summer is just around the corner, making it the perfect time to dive into the latest hiring trends. Why? The incoming pool of college grads are on the hunt for that crucial first role out of school. Not only are they fortunate enough to enter what’s been dubbed the best job market in years, they’re already much sought-after. Employers say they want to hire nearly 11 percent more graduates this year, pushing hiring projections for grads into the double digits for the first time since 2011.
To identify trends around this candidate pool, we recently analyzed data from LinkedIn’s network of 160 million U.S. members, gleaning insights about the job seeking behavior of new grads.
Here are a few tips based on our recent findings to help you hire today’s graduates:
Hire new grads in June, and don’t limit yourself to a local search
Let’s begin with the nuts and bolts: when (and where) to hire. Start polishing up your job descriptions now, because June is the most popular time of year for new graduates to apply for entry level positions. Applications begin ramping up in January and increase each month until they reach a peak in June. If you’re already clear on your hiring needs, you can beat the rush and pick up more proactive grads in May.
If your location lacks a healthy pool of graduating seniors, it’s not a deal breaker—this group is mobile. We found the majority (51%) of students take first jobs in a different city than where they graduated from school. The top 10 cities for new graduates include popular choices like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but also outlier markets like Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle and Austin. Don’t be afraid to look outside of your area for entry level talent.
Appeal to their interests—or their passions
New grads are applying most often to the Marketing and Advertising, IT and Services, and Construction industries, but jobs in the nonprofit sector or in electrical and electronic manufacturing appeal as well.
The top three roles grads are applying to most include software engineer, financial analyst and administrative assistant—although they’re also interested in mechanical engineering roles, marketing and design, HR, and data analysis.
If you’re outside of these high-demand industries or hiring for less sought-after roles, focus on how jobs at your company enrich your employees’ lives. This grad group, which falls into Generation Z, places a premium on finding their work meaningful and will look to find roles that allow them to engage with their passions—and they’re twice as likely as boomers, Gen Xers, or even millennials to list turning a passion project into their career as a top career goal for 2019. Consider sharing stories on your career site and social channels of how your junior employees have been able to pursue what they love, both inside and outside of work.
Zero in on their desire to learn
New grads and their slightly older counterparts share a natural acceptance of the changing nature of today’s jobs and roles. Our research shows that nearly half of Gen Z professionals feel their jobs will exist 20 years from now, but its form will change, and more than 75% feel the skills necessary in today’s workforce are different from the skills necessary in past generations.
That explains new grads’ focus on continual learning: in the six months following graduation, we found recent graduates were taking additional classes on LinkedIn Learning to gain additional hard skills before they enter the workforce. Their interest skews toward data science—and toward skills that involve analyzing and storytelling with data, like data visualization and modeling, Python (a programming language often used in data science) and web analytics.
Even if you aren’t looking to expand your capabilities with data, you can still appeal to new grads by demonstrating your commitment to continuous learning in general, and sharing how you’re able to create time and space for your employees to grow. And given their appetite for learning and growth, you can consider expanding your talent pool by hiring for potential rather than an exhaustive list of required skills. Employees who display key soft skills like communication, learning agility and adaptability are likely to learn the ropes quickly.
As you develop your hiring strategy, keep these trends in mind to help you attract new grads and find new hires who can start contributing to your success from their first day on the job.
Andrew Chimka is working to connect people with opportunity by scaling LinkedIn’s Jobs platform, building features that enable job posters to find and hire top talent.