Outlook remains good for area graduates: See the top 4 job fields

Employers are projected to hire fewer college graduates this spring than they did last year but local experts said that doesn’t appear to be the case with the hiring of Ohio’s class of 2018.

Nationally, employers are expected to hire 1.3 percent fewer graduates this year than they did in 2017, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The potential decline would be the first one since 2010.

National hiring projections for college grads are being dragged down primarily by a 33 percent decline in retail hires and a 42 percent decline in hiring by insurance firms because of recent costly natural disasters, according to the NACE report.

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In Ohio though, “job openings continue to be at all time highs,” said Ryan Burgess, director of Gov. John Kasich’s office of workforce development. At any given time there are more than 150,000 positions posted on the Ohio Means Jobs website, half of which pay over $50,000, Burgess said.

“I think the outlook is bright,” Burgess said. “When you look at the opportunities across the state, there are more than enough opportunities for recent grads to find a job.”

In the long term, Burgess said he expects the job outlook for recent grads to improve, thanks to collaborations between community colleges and businesses to create and offer applied bachelor’s degrees. Kasich signed off on the concept of specialized four-year degrees at two-year schools in June when he signed into law his last state budget. Sinclair is one of a few colleges that have made it through every round of approval so far to offer at least two degrees.

“I think that could be a game changer for our regional economies across the state,” Burgess said.

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Competition has heated up among employers looking to hire recent grads, said Jeff Reep, career services director at Cedarville University. Employers are offering signing bonuses to secure grads, said Reep, and they’re offering them jobs months in advance of graduation.

Reep was told of one Cedarville student looking for a job in computer science and was offered a starting salary above $90,000. The student made a counter offer of $102,000 and the company granted his request.

“I don’t think that would have happened a few years ago,” Reep said.

Students who haven’t yet found a job may have a chance to find one during the state’s “In-Demand Jobs Week” during the first week of May. The week includes a number of events and career fairs around Ohio, according to the state.

Finding a job isn’t a concern for Wright State University graduate Jordan Large Kingsley though, because she’s already found one.

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Kingsley studied urban affairs and management at Wright State and participated in Saturday’s commencement ceremony at the Nutter Center. She’ll be using her degree right out of school because she accepted a job offer in January to work in the Dayton city manager’s office.

Kingsley called herself lucky to have a job nailed down before graduation. But, she’s not alone and said a lot of WSU students already know what they’ll be doing after school —a potential sign of just how often Ohio employers are hiring recent grads.

“It is just an overwhelming relief,” Kingsley said. “On top of finals and trying to get all of that figured out, I don’t have to find a job.”

Most in-demand career fields

The fields with the most job opennings, according to experts at Ohio Means Jobs and Cedarville Unviersity.

• Technology and computer science

• Health care industry

• Engineering

• Business

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