Promising Job Outlook for 2022 Graduates


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

Students who will graduate this year should find a better job market than their counterparts who graduated in 2021.  That’s according to a research study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). 

Results of the 2022 NACE job outlook survey indicate employers across the country plan to hire nearly 32% more new graduates this year than was the case last year.  NACE said that result is consistent with current job market trends in the U.S.  For example, recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 11.3 million job openings in the country, up 53% from one year ago.

The NACE study shows about 56%% of employers have plans to increase hiring this year, compared to just 16.5% last year. A full 40%+ say they will maintain hiring levels.  Almost 49% of organizations responding to the survey rate the overall U.S. job market for 2022 graduates as “very good” and 14% rate it as “excellent.”  That compares to 2021 respondents; only 4% rated the job market “very good” last year and less than 1% said it was “excellent.” 

The NACE research also shows a continuation of the trend toward more online work. While 42% of respondents to the survey anticipate that their entry-level positions will be fully in-person, 40% will be hybrid splits of in-person and online, and 18% will be fully remote.

The associate director of UofL’s University Career Center, Kelly Atwood, said the regional job market also looks promising. “We have experienced a rise in the number of employers attending career fairs and outreach regarding increased opportunities for UofL students. We are in a job seeker's market which means more experiential learning and post-graduation positions for our students.”

Results of the NACE job outlook study were based on responses from 174 companies of all sizes from across the nation.  Data was collected for the study during the fall of 2021 and this spring as well.