The job outlook for recent Minnesota college graduates

You might remember my post in July about the Minnesota College Job Outlook, a survey by St. Cloud State University of employers who recruit Minnesota college grads.

The main point of the post reflected the one highlighted in an Alexandria newspaper article: Students need to get a clue about what kind of jobs they'll be getting.

The newspaper has since archived the article, but the university has since released a summary of the findings and of the survey itself:


MN College Job Outlook 2012

Hiring Plans

Plan to increase hiring                                                                                               36.4%

Plan to maintain hiring                                                                                              55.1%

Plan to decrease hiring                                                                                              8.5%

Salary Plans

Plan to increase salary                                                                                               10.1%

Plan to maintain salary                                                                                              88.2%

Plan to decrease                                                                                                         1.7%

Hiring by Industry (for industries with at least four respondents): 

Increase                 Maintain                Decrease

Education                                75%                        25%                        0%

Retail                                       54.5%                     45.5%                     0%

Business Services                    50%                        50%                        0%

Technology                             35.7%                     50%                        14.3%

Financial Services                   35.3%                     52.9%                     11.8%

Non Profit/Human Serv.         33.3%                     58.3%                     8.3%

Manufacturing                        22.2%                     77.8%                     0%

Government                            16.7%                     58.3%                     25%

Healthcare                               0%                          100%                      0%

Recruiting Methods for College Students/New Grads

Percentages reflects number of employers who selected each item

Job Fairs                                                                                                                    92.4%

Job posting on company website                                                                               84.0%

Employee referrals                                                                                                     79.8%

Job posting on campus website                                                                                  73.9%

Job posting on internet job board                                                                              65.5%

Hire from intern program                                                                                          56.3%

Job posting on social media site                                                                                47.9%

On campus interviewing                                                                                            47.9%

Job posting in newspaper classified                                                                          20.2%


Most Effective Recruiting Methods

Employers were asked to identify which method generally yields the greatest number of new college hires.  Employers were only allowed to select their number one answer.

Job Fairs                                                                                                                    28.6%

Hire from intern program                                                                                          13.4%

Job posting on campus website                                                                                  12.6%

Employee referrals                                                                                                     11.8%

Job posting on internet job board                                                                              11.8%

Job posting on company website                                                                               10.9%

On campus interviewing                                                                                              6.7%


Percentage of employers who offer internships                                       80.7%

Skills Most Important for Students to Possess

Employers were asked, in an open ended question, to indicate the most important skill they seek in new college hires.

Top 10

One:                Communication (verbal and written)

Two:                Leadership

Three:              Motivation/Self-starter

Four:                Technical Skills

Five:                Positive Attitude/Passion

Six:                  Experience (internship, coop, etc.)

Seven:             Interpersonal communication

Eight:              Eager to learn/ability to learn

Eight (tie):       Flexible

Eight (tie):       Professionalism


Skills Students Most Need to Improve Upon

Top 10

One:                More realistic job expectations

Two:                Professionalism

Three:              Communication

Four:                Interviewing skills/preparation

Five:                Work Ethic

Six:                  Lose sense of entitlement

Seven:             Writing skills

Eight:              Flexibility

Eight (tie):       Leadership

Ten:                 Knowledge of company/organization

What Colleges/Universities Need to do Differently and/or Better

A variety of suggestions/requests were made from employers but the most frequently cited comments by far tended to fall into three areas, which in order of frequency were:


  1. Do more career coaching/career preparation.  Comments included: do more career preparation in the classroom, teach interviewing skills, networking, resume writing, etc.; get students started on career exploration, career preparation and connecting with employers sooner; teach students about careers and career options and provide them with more realistic job expectations; promote your career services more.

  2. Have students get more experience/get more students to do internships.

  3. Have colleges work together to provide more centralized recruiting options, e.g., a joint job posting system, more consortium career fairs, etc.


Survey Background

The MN College Job Outlook survey is the only study of its kind which specifically surveys employers who are actively recruiting in MN for new college graduates.

The following is a summary of our eighth annual survey, conducted by Andrew Ditlevson, Associate Director, St. Cloud State University Career Services Center.

Survey Methodology

Two hundred and fifty-seven employers actively recruiting new college graduates in Minnesota were surveyed in August/September of 2011.  One hundred and nineteen responses were received resulting in a 43.6% response rate.

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