CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Employers are looking to hire more new college graduates than in the previous year, according to a job outlook report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
The report said employers plan to hire 26.6% more new graduates from the Class of 2022 than they did from the Class of 2021.
The UNC Charlotte Career Center is working to prepare graduates for the job market.
"Right now, it's looking great,” Patrick Madsen, executive director of the Career Center at UNC Charlotte, said. “There are more jobs than there are graduates nationwide, and of course, in this area as well."
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, new college grads are entering a job market with 11.3 million openings. By comparison, that's nearly twice the number of unemployed people. In March, the BLS estimated there were about 6 million people unemployed.
The UNC Charlotte Career Center is seeing the lack of available workers create more opportunities for soon-to-be college grads.
"I have been seeing a lot of students that are getting multiple offers," Madsen said. "They're making the decision between what makes sense for their world today and what brings them the greatest value."
Madsen said today's job seekers are looking at more than just financials.
“And oftentimes, it's not about money, but it's about, 'Do our values match?'"
Madsen said he’s seeing demand in the fields of data science, technology, IT, and human services. He especially sees a need for social workers, counselors, and psychologists.
He’s been encouraging employers to jazz up their job listings to appeal to soon-to-be college graduates, who care a lot about a company's value and career stability.
Charles Graham, Jr. is the outgoing senior class president at UNC Charlotte. He is graduating this May with one full-time job offer already in hand. Even so, he's still looking at all his options in the financial sector.
"I do think that I have the potential to find that dream job. I know what that would be or what business that would be with,” Graham said. “So I do think it's out there, and I do think it's calling my name.
The Class of 2022 has rolled with the punches of the pandemic by switching to virtual school and following pandemic protocol. Graham said he believes that's part of what will make this class great employees.
"We've gone through a lot of adjustments the last two years, and I feel like we're probably one of the classes that could easily move into whatever field and just adjust accordingly because we've proven that already,” Graham said.
That agile mindset is one of the top qualities career readiness experts said employers are looking for in today's job market.
"The academic major doesn't matter as much these days because they just need people who really want to work, and they can teach them a lot of these great things,” Madsen said.
Graham said the adversity college seniors have faced has prepared them for the career climb ahead of them.
"If we're put in the right situation, the right firm, we're going to climb up the ladder,” Graham said. “Next thing you know, they might be running the company one day because of everything we've experienced."