College Grad Hiring Blitz Hits Philly

New grads should consider themselves lucky.

Anybody who graduated college in the past seven years should be jealous of the class of 2015. Just a few years ago, college grads were freaking out about not being able to find jobs. This year, they should be planning on living life outside of mom and dad’s house because the job market is wide open — especially in Philly.

Consider these numbers: The National Association of Colleges and Employers says employers plan to hire 9.6 percent more new graduates this year and job openings are up 50 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, CareerBuilder reports that 65 percent of employers plan to hire recent college grads this year, up from 57 percent last year. One third will offer higher pay than last year, and 1 in 4 will pay $50,000 or more.

“This is the best year we’ve had in 7 or 8 years,” said Paul Harrington, a professor director of the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University. He said there are about 1.7 applicants for every job, which matches pre-recession levels. (During the height of the recession, it was a frightening 7-to-1.)

In Philly, the professional, technical and managerial sector is booming, and the market is very strong for IT and financial consultants, said Harrington. Since Philly is an “eds and meds” stronghold, Harrington calls health care jobs “a good long-term bet” especially in booming areas like imaging and occupational therapy.

At Temple University, the number of job postings on the school’s alumni job board is up 24 percent, said Megan Panaccio director of corporate relations for the Center for Student Professional Development. Plus, there was a 30 percent increase in employers recruiting on campus this year, for a total of 94 companies.

“I am seeing more companies be proactive in their recruitment,” said Panaccio. “There’s more overall confidence to hire people and companies have the budgets to do so. People could be moving on, replacing people who retired. Or maybe they’re putting more of an emphasis on building the bench of new hires.”

Another offshoot of the college grad hiring blitz is the decrease in what Harrington calls “malemployment” — the amount of college grads taking jobs that don’t require college degrees.

“College grads don’t want to be unemployed so they take a job as a retail clerk for example,” he said. “The number of kids doing this will go down because they will have a much better chance of getting a job in their field.”