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Twice as many employers plan to increase hiring, says survey

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- There appears to be a ray of hope in all the dismal job numbers. Twice as many employers (42. 4 percent) than a year ago have said they plan to increase hiring in the coming year, according to a survey of Minnesota employers conducted by the St. Cloud State University Career Services Center.

While these numbers are consistent with those recently released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), one big difference is that the St. Cloud State survey had more than 90 Minnesota employers respond in comparison to the less than 10 Minnesota employers who typically respond to the NACE survey, said Andrew Ditlevson, the survey's director.

MN College Job Outlook 2011

Survey Background

Every year, college career centers throughout Minnesota receive inquiries regarding the job market for new college graduates. For many years, the only source that colleges had to draw on for this information was the annual study conducted by NACE. Since the NACE study, which is routinely cited in many major national publications, typically includes responses from less than 10 Minnesota employers, the MN College Job Outlook Survey started in 2004. This year, the survey received responses from 93 organizations actively recruiting four-year college graduates in Minnesota.

The following is a summary of the research of the seventh annual survey.

Hiring Plans

Plan to increase hiring 42.4%

Plan to maintain hiring 51.1%

Plan to decrease hiring 6.5%

*Based on comparisons to last year, when only 20.7% of respondents indicated they planned to increase hiring and 16.1% planned to decrease, this looks to be a much more promising year for new college graduates.

On campus recruiting plans

Firm plans to recruit on campus 57.6%

Tentative plans to recruit on campus 20.7%

No plans to recruit on campus 7.6%

Unsure of plans 14.1%

*By comparison, at this time last year, 44.8% of employers had firm plans to recruit on campus.

Salary plans

Plan to increase salary 10.3%

Plan to maintain salary 89.7%

Plan to decrease 0.0%

*Only 4.7% of employers planned to increase salaries last year.

Most effective recruiting methods

Employers were asked to identify their most effective recruiting methods from the list below. The percentages reflect the number of employers who selected each item.

Job Fairs 79.3%

Employee referrals 46.7%

Job posting on company website 42.4%

Job posting on campus website 41.3%

Hire from intern program 40.2%

Job posting on internet job board 32.6%

On campus interviewing 32.6%

*Interesting to note that the percentage of employers indicating "job posting on internet job board" as a most effective method dropped more than 20% from the previous year.

Skills most important for students to possess

Top 10

1. Communication (verbal and written)

2. Honesty/integrity

3. Strong work ethic

4. Motivation/initiative

5. Interpersonal (relates well to others)

6. Teamwork (works well with others)

7. Flexibility/adaptability

8. Customer service

9. Ability to acquire learning

10. Professionalism/etiquette