- Both job offer and acceptance rates for recent college grads were down in 2018, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) 2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report.
- Last year, an average of 40.5% of graduates who interviewed for a job received an offer, representing more than a 5% decrease from the previous year. At the same time, only 66.9% of those receiving offers accepted them, down from 68.2% in 2017.
- Higher offer rates coupled with low acceptance rates would indicate a robust hiring market, according to NACE, but that wasn't the case here. Instead, the seemingly odd results may be attributable to a trend established during the previous three years when the market was improving, particularly for 2017's graduating class, according to NACE. "Graduates in 2018 thought they could do better given how hot the market was for the previous class," the organization said. "Therefore, they were more selective and the acceptance rate dropped."
College grads may feel they can be more selective about choosing a job, but with fewer offers, the labor market could be shifting.
Pay and development opportunities could be a factor, too. In a recent survey of 1,000 18- to 23-year-olds, three-quarters said they're looking for a boss who coaches employees, can communicate the company's vision, gives frequent feedback and manages workers with consistency. The same amount also said they believe they should be promoted after one year in their first position, and 40% said they expect to earn more than $100,000 per year at the peak of their career.
For now, those may be tall orders, as pay growth for recent grads has remained stagnant in recent years, according to the Economic Policy Institute. But employers hoping to improve their offer acceptance rates can take note and work to ensure advancement opportunities are well-promoted on career sites and in interviews. Other research shows that members of Gen Z, while generally confident about their tech knowledge, often are unsure about their readiness to join the workforce. Employers can alleviate those concerns by offering soft skills training and other on-the-job programs to help build their confidence, according to Dell Technologies, which conducted the survey.