Today’s job market welcomes the Class of 2022 with open arms


Two Elon experts explore what senior graduates see when they leave Elon for a variety of new careers and experiences.

New graduates from Elon University will don caps and gowns on May 20 as they receive their degrees and head to what’s next.

For many, this will launch into their post-graduate careers, and new Elon graduates, like their peers at colleges and universities across the country, are finding a competitive job market – one where there is greater competition between employers looking to land new graduates than between new graduates looking for their first post-graduate job.

The Elon University News Bureau recently sat down with Brooke Buffington, Director of the Student Professional Development Center, and Tonmoy Islam, Assistant Professor of Economics, to better understand the employment landscape for the Class of 2022 and how graduates capitalize on a job. market that calls for talent.

Historically, college seniors begin their postgraduate job searches earlier and earlier in their senior years. What does it look like this year in terms of when these students are putting their graduate plans into action?

Brooke Buffington, Director of the Student Professional Development Center

BROOKE BUFFINGTON – The hiring cycle is highly industry dependent, and our Elon graduates have broad career interests and goals, so there is no single answer to this question. Accounting and financial institutions are certainly starting their recruitment processes earlier than in the past. At this time, some sophomores have already been interviewed and secured internships for the summer of 2023. A nonprofit or media company may not begin their recruiting process for eight weeks before needing of this new hire to start with the organization.

The good news is that regardless of the hiring cycle, organizations are looking for new talent.

TONMOY ISLAM – I agree with Brooke. The students had several offers from different institutions this year. Some students were able to ask for increased benefits from their potential employers in the midst of this competition. Also in the summer internship market, students have been able to secure internships in some of the best institutions.

How have students changed their job searches and contract negotiations when there are far more vacancies than qualified candidates, in general?

BUFFINGTON – This is an interesting question, because some students are very aware of the evolution of the labor market, and others are not. Our job at the Student Professional Development Center is to help our senior graduates understand the changes that occur with the opportunities they seek.

I’ve been in this business for a long time and this is the first year I’ve heard students say they get “raises” before they even start their first day on the job. Organizations are working hard to ensure their compensation programs are aligned with the market and making adjustments in this rapidly changing hiring landscape.

I’ve been in this business for a long time and this is the first year I’ve heard students say they get “raises” before they even start their first day on the job.

What does the state of the labor market mean for entry salaries for new graduates? Are they seeing higher salaries as well as more open positions?

Photo of Associate Professor of Economics Tonmoy Islam
Tonmoy Islam, Assistant Professor of Economics

ISLAM – Due to increased competition, employers are offering higher salaries and more benefits to students. There are also many more job opportunities for students this year than in the past two years. The unemployment rate is falling, signaling that students don’t have to wait long to get their first job offer. To show how strong the job market is right now, some major banks have started paying substantial salaries to summer interns, hoping that these interns will transition into employment in the coming months. Many students can work entirely online for their employers or in a hybrid model. Some students said they could work at their parents’ house for a few years to save on rent and other expenses.

What does the landscape look like for continuing students in terms of internships? Is the current state of the economy translating into more and better, and even better paying, internships this summer?

BUFFINGTON – Some industries have already hired their interns for the summer of 2023, but this is far from the case for all industries. Hiring is currently underway for internships, which is ideal for current students. As noted by Tonmoy, we are seeing salary increases with internships as more employers hope to convert their interns into full-time hires upon completion of the internship. The economic environment is constantly changing, so students should always look for ways to continue to develop their skills and increase their market value.

The high demand for talented workers has many advantages for those seeking employment. What are some of the economic downsides of a welcoming labor market for new graduates? Does it contribute to inflation?

ISLAM – Yes, in part. Offering higher wages to new entrants will increase the cost of doing business, which will then increase the price of their products. This further increases wages and the cycle continues.

On the other hand, the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to curb inflation. Rising rates make it expensive for some consumers to purchase certain products (mainly high-ticket items like housing and cars), which may reduce product demand in the coming months. Already, some tech companies have laid off workers or instituted a hiring freeze.

I would suggest that new entrants to the full-time job market continue to learn new skills so that they are marketable and can easily move on to another job if their current employer faces a downturn.

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