More than half of companies are keen to attract American college students

Business owners warn former students of a competitive market

Latest results from the Harris Poll

OKLAHOMA CITY, May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — U.S. employers continue to show interest in hiring graduates, with more than half (55%) planning to hire recent alumni, a positive trend in recent years, barring a dip in the first half from 2023.

This is evident from a recent Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey, in which companies also outlined other in-demand demographic segments and industries.

In addition to graduates, hiring managers say they plan to hire college students (41%), vocational education/career technology graduates (37%), high school students (23%), and adults with disabilities (21%). Fewer companies plan to hire migrant workers in 2024 (19%) – fewer than in the first half of 2023 (23%) and the second half of 2022 (24%).

Some also plan to hire retirees (16%), migrant workers (15%) or those involved in the justice system (13%).

Workers needed, demand for full-time employees is increasing

Companies are also looking to hire in many key departments by 2024, most commonly in general labor (28%), customer service (27%), sales (27%), and IT/technology support (26%).

Interest in dedicated IT/technology support staff has increased since the second half of 2022 (26% in the second half of 2023 versus 23% in the second half of 2022).

The majority of hiring managers (86%) report that their company plans to hire full-time employees this year, either hourly (61%) or salaried (52%), with interest in this group being the highest since the start of the research in 2020. .

Hire landscape

“There are a lot of jobs, but it is much harder to get them than in the previous two years,” he says Jake Domer, Senior Vice President of the Specialized Recruiting Group. “Graduates will have to be more aware, strategic and work hard, but the opportunities are there.”

He adds that hiring is still generally good for graduates, but the market has become more competitive and limited to proven skills versus education.

In West VirginiaExpress Franchise Owner Chad Drainer says its market has become tighter, and it’s difficult for college students to get into.

“I believe the market is worse than previous years because of concerns about the economy,” he said. “Many companies have tightened their budgets. When they hire people, they are looking for more experience.”

When alumni start looking for a job, Domer says the healthcare industry will always be in demand, while Drainer encourages them to consider an additional option.

“I believe the best opportunities for graduates are in any sales role, whether that’s insurance, marketing, advertising sales or human resources,” he said. “Most companies are more willing to adopt the right attitude and drive and are willing to train a salesperson.”

Staff preparation begins now

For future graduates, Drainer encourages them to be open to new opportunities to gain experience.

“The perfect job may not be immediately available after graduation,” he said. “Take a position to continue to hone skills and gain work-related experience.”

Workforce preparation is a topic close to Domer’s heart as he prepares his daughter for her graduation in a few years. For college seniors, he suggests:

  • Don’t get carried away with the ‘down’ story. There is still a significant labor shortage at all levels, and this is only made worse by boomer retirement rates and historically low birth rates in the US.
  • Get out there and meet employers face-to-face. Don’t rely on a ‘post and pray’ approach where you only submit applications online.
  • Make sure your social presence is professional. Everyone will be looking at least, if not further, to LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms.
  • Internships are critical to giving students a realistic perspective.
  • Take advantage of the extensive networking and mentorship opportunities offered by colleges.
  • Use reputable and trustworthy recruiters, such as those available through staffing agencies, to avoid falling for “unicorn” job postings that are scams.

“I offer my sincerest congratulations to the Class of 2024 and extend a warm welcome to the staff,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express Employment International. “While many things have changed since I graduated from college years ago, a diligent work ethic and commitment to lifelong learning remain a cornerstone of career success. If you are willing to do the hard work by investing in yourself, the path is that lies before you paved with endless possibilities.”

Survey Methodology
The Job Insights survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between October 31 and November 10, 2023among 1,007 U.S. hiring decision makers.

For complete research methodologies please contact (email protected)Director of Corporate Communications & PR.

If you would like to make an appointment for an interview to discuss this topic, please contact us (email protected)Director of Corporate Communications & PR.

About Bill Stoller
William H. “Bill” Stoller is chairman and CEO of Express Employment International. Founded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the international staffing franchisor supports the Express Employment Professionals franchise and related brands. The Express franchise brand is a leading international staffing company with franchise locations across the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia And New Zealand.

About Express Employment Professionals At Express Employment Professionals we work with people. From job seekers to client companies: Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Our international network of franchises provides localized workforce solutions to the communities they serve across the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia And New Zealand, which employed 492,000 people worldwide in 2023 and more than 11 million people since its founding. For more information, visit

SOURCE Express Services dba Express Employment Professionals

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