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Want to recruit a 2022 college grad? Here’s what you’re up against

Written on Jun 17, 2022

A new report reveals that the 2022 college graduates are entering a sizzling job market with two job openings for every unemployed person.  

The report from ZipRecruiter, The Class of 2022: The Job Market Outlook for Grads, also shows that employers are rolling out the red carpet to grads with perks like signing bonuses (nearly 800% growth in recent years), remote work options, help with student loan payments and vacation stipends. 

Report highlights include: 

  • The pandemic has lowered barriers to entry for recent grads. To combat labor shortages, employers have lowered the experience requirements for millions of roles, making new graduates eligible for jobs that were once out of reach: 9% of job postings in 2022 listing a bachelor’s degree requirement vs. 13% in 2018. 

  • Workplace benefits new grads love – and where to find them. The two-thirds of new graduates who borrowed for college have about $28,400 in student loan debt, on average, and employers are taking note. 90k job postings now offer student loan repayment as a perk. 

  • Internships: The missing rung on the post-COVID opportunity ladder – The traditional internship model needs to change in the new world of remote and hybrid work. Currently, 1% of all internships nationwide are remote and many programs remain on hiatus, leaving key learning opportunities for developing job seekers on the table. 

  • Show me the money: expectations vs. reality. Those who successfully complete a college degree can expect a wage boost, with new college grads earning 59% more than workers with only high school diplomas. College grads are also underselling themselves with the ability to command $10k more than they expect to earn. 

  • What new graduates want in a job. There is a clear generational divide in the workforce, with first-time hires caring substantially more about learning opportunities and diversity and inclusion efforts vs. traditional perks like retirement. Interestingly, 21% of first-time hires said they prioritized finding a low-stress job as part of their search efforts. 

  • Why younger workers want remote work. Working remotely allows young people to save on transportation costs and rent by living at home, or allows them to combine a full-time job with freelance or gig work. “More than 6 in 10 job seekers want remote jobs, but only 1 in 10 jobs is remote. So, if you’re applying for remote jobs, expect more competition and send more applications. If, on the other hand, you’re prepared to work in an office, the odds swing to you,” report authors wrote. 

The report also details the hottest job markets in the U.S. for 2022, top entry level jobs for new grads, most common industries for first-time hires, and what skills are most in demand.