STEM Careers Sought by the Class of 2021

There’s no time like the present to start recruiting college graduates. While unemployment remains low, the number of applicants for many jobs across the country continues to increase. According to recruiting software and talent acquisition solutions provider, Oleeo, some companies are attracting up to 90,000 college graduate applications across several different program types (intern, co-op, graduate, seasonal placements, etc.).


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Oleeo sought to examine key findings identified by Universum research, which analyzed 387,000 graduate applications across its United States (U.S.) client base. The findings have been compiled into a new report: The Must-Know—U.S. Focused Student Recruiting Trends for 2018. With these insights, organizations can devote more time to focused value-add activities and improve their engagement and influence with the best hires before their competitors. Here are some of the key findings:

Campus Recruiting Challenges and Solutions

According to respondents, stretched staffing resources (59%) and low brand awareness (54%) are the primary challenges for student recruiters with poor business engagement (24%) and regulatory changes (22%) also causing concern. Out-of-date technology continues to be a challenge, cited by 47% of respondents.
Coincidentally, the research found that 48% of students would not choose an employer as “ideal” if they did not know enough about the employer and 13% would be put off if they felt employers did not recruit them from their school.
In order for your company to stand out, you’ll want to make your brand known on campuses across the country. The best way to do this, Oleeo found, was to host campus events. According to 92% of respondents, events are a big driver for engaging with future leaders complemented by support from brand ambassadors on campus (60%).
Communication, cited by 53% of respondents, is also important both digitally via social media (36%), forums, dedicated careers pages, and newsletters as well as growing use of video interviewing (36%) to test personalities more in-depth.
Positive impressions from internships and co-op placements are a valuable source of finding emerging talent, says 84% of respondents. On a wider basis, career fairs (47%) and mentoring programs (42%) seem to be successful, as are student referrals (35%). Many recruiters (45%) also pointed out that investing in their employer value proposition is helping to preserve advocacy.

What Are College Grads Looking for?

For college students planning on graduating in 2021, their career goals and aspirations are much more focused on innovation and high future earnings. These college graduates are also more likely to say they want to work in more specialized industries, including engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and software—among many other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.
In order to attract the next generation of workers to your company, you need to know what they want. Oleeo found that career goal messages around work/life balance, job security and stability, and the ability to become a leader or manager of people with an international career possibility were the most highly desired “benefits” that college grads are looking for.
Oleeo also found that high academic achievers prioritize a challenging career 12% more than their lower-achieving counterparts. Those counterparts are 8% more likely to say that secure employment is a top long-term goal.
Gone are the days of ping-pong tables and beer carts, college graduates now want better work/life balance and the opportunities to have a long and stable career with your organization. By understanding what college graduates want, and how to incorporate these desires into your company’s culture, you’ll be better equipped to retain the workforce of the future.