Hiring Class of 2021 Forecasted to be Better Than Expected


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

While some forecasts suggested 2021 college graduates would face a terrible job market because of the pandemic and its impacts on the economy, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is projecting otherwise.  And while the outlook is certainly not rosy, NACE research indicates that as opposed to reducing, employers will maintain their 2021 hiring at 2020 levels. 

That is in contrast to what happened during the Great Recession in the late 2000s when most employers substantially reduced hiring. NACE said that this time around, most employers now “understand the need to continue their college recruiting efforts so they do not lose ground in the market and have to restart their college recruiting at a disadvantage once the economy recovers.” 

According to the NACE “Job Outlook Survey,” 2021 hiring will be, “more positive than expected given that the pandemic shut down the economy, plummeted the stock market, and raised the unemployment rate.” Nearly 17% of organizations responding to the NACE survey plan to increase their hiring levels of 2021 graduates (compared to 2020 graduates), and about 53% plan to maintain their level of hiring.   

NACE said that several employment sectors will increase their college hiring during the coming year.  Some of the areas of expanded hiring activity include chemical/pharmaceutical manufacturing, miscellaneous support services, information, and wholesale trade. 

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, is encouraged by this report.  He adds, “This is in line with the advice we have been providing to students throughout the pandemic. Whereas the economy is not ideal, there are still positions but it is important that students stay engaged in the job search process, whether for full time jobs or internships.” 

Data for NACE’s Job Outlook 2021 survey were collected from July through September. A total of 227 surveys were returned; 158 were NACE members and the remaining 69 were nonmembers.