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College Degrees Most In-Demand

The information below was culled by Harris Poll between February 16th and March 9th in a broad-based employer survey. The survey was performed online and was completed by hiring managers and human resource managers at the respective companies.

Below you will find a succinct list of the 16 most in-demand college degrees, the top five most sought after job functions, hiring trends for college graduates, income trends for college graduates, and a list of the biggest complaintsfrom hiring managers across the country.

The 16 Most In-Demand College Degrees

For the most recent reporting year, we have seen employers vote for the most popular college degree majors by their hiring profiles. In other words, the most sought after college degree programs is best defined as the impact it makes to employers. The skills acquired from the following college degree programs verify the efficacy of the curriculum and need in the workplace. Consider the following 16 college degrees as a starting point to continue performing research to determine which tracks are right for you.

The following college majors were cited as the most sought after by employers nationwide in conjunction with their frequency in the survey responses:

Top 5 Most In-Demand Job Functions

The list of most in-demand job functions drills down a bit deeper than the college degree. Learning what specialties are in-demand within companies around the country will give you a glimpse into the job marketing more specifically than a college degree. Below you will find a list of the top 5 most sought after job functions in Q1 2017:

  1. Information Technology: 33%
  2. Customer Service: 24%
  3. Business Development: 23%
  4. Finance & Accounting: 20%
  5. Production: 18%

What Percent of Employers Plan on Hiring College Grads this Year?

For college graduates, the thrill of receiving a college degree is juxtaposed with a twinge of anxiety about what comes next. For this year, the news is very encouraging for college graduates. In fact, nearly 75% of employers surveyed are planning on hiring college graduates.

This figure is up from 67% over the previous calendar year and is the highest on record since 2007. Solid news for college graduates and heartening news for employers as more and more students are attending college than ever and earning in-demand degrees applicable in the workplace.

Are Employers Paying College Graduates More?

To understand the compensation component, it is important to understand the competitive landscape facing employers across the country. From pricing to product mix and from recruiting to retention, employers are under tremendous pressure to hire right. For this year, employers surveyed a full 50% anticipate paying more for college graduates than in the previous year.

The same employers surveyed in 2016 had planned on paying more for college grads at the expected rate of 37%. In fact, 39% of employers plan on paying in excess of $50,000 a year for in-demand college graduates. Further, seventy percent of employers are willing to negotiate starting pay packages for in-demand college graduates with 45% intending to make an offer to qualified college candidates while still in school.

What are the Biggest Complaints from Hiring Managers?

With the mounting pressure on companies to compete domestically and globally, hiring managers have a challenging task to match needs with skills. The top 5 complaints from hiring managers and human resource managers surveyed are as follows:

  1. Too much book-learning and not enough hands-on experience: 44%
  2. Lack of technical skills and liberal arts skills: 38%
  3. Entry-level jobs are increasingly complex: 23%
  4. Technology is outpacing the academic environment: 17%
  5. Lack of internship experience: 17%

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