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Employers Shift Back to In-Person Recruiting on College Campuses

As schools and workplaces return to in-person post-pandemic, so is college recruiting, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Dr. Mary GattaDr. Mary Gatta

The 2023 Recruiting Benchmarks Report examines survey data from a NACE survey conducted from April-May 2023. The association asked employers – 334 organizations responded – about their recruitment and hiring practices and preferences.

The 204 respondents who agreed to be listed in the report’s executive summary included groups such as Chevron, Dell Technologies, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, and Starbucks.

Of those surveyed, more than 91% reported that they used direct, on-campus recruiting to recruit Class of 2022 students. This indicates an increase compared with last year and the years when the pandemic was in full swing, said Dr. Mary Gatta, director of research and public policy at NACE.

"They still use virtual modalities but college recruiting definitely is up close and personal now, on campus," Gatta said.

Findings showed that fewer recruiters are being tasked with the work this year compared to last, with 7.2 recruiters in 2023, down from 9.0 reported in 2022. However, budgets for more than 80% of these employers did not change much over the last year, the report noted.

As for when job offers and rejections are being sent out, the wait from the time of the applicant’s first interview was slightly shorter. The average number of days in-between first interview and offer/rejection notice in 2023 was 25.1, an improvement from 25.6 in 2022.

This year, employers made job offers to approximately 45% of candidates and students accepted 69% of them, taking an average of about 11 days to accept. Before the pandemic, it was about 14 days. There were also fewer hires that reneged on accepted job offers in 2023, 8% this year from 8.7% last year, according to the report.

The survey and report also found that the vast majority of employers still viewed possession of a college credential as valuable.

"There's been a lot of discussion around getting rid of the college degree as a filter for jobs,” Gatta said. “But what we saw in our study is that employers were firm in their belief in the college degree. Only about [25%] reported that their organizations even had discussions about not requiring the college degree, and these discussions were focused on skills-based hiring. No one, not one organization, reported a lack of confidence in the college degree as a driver."

In fact, when asked by NACE for the first time about how about much they valued college and university-based certificates, such as college degrees, most employers (about 75%) reported that they viewed such credentials as “high quality.”

“Our research shows that higher education is worth it,” wrote Shawn VanDerziel, NACE president and CEO in an email to Diverse. “Employers value the knowledge, skills, and competencies that college graduates bring to the workforce. For students, our research reinforces that their college education is meaningful—and is valued in the marketplace.”

Company efforts to diversify their workforces remain largely constant, with more than 80% of employers saying that their organization had “formal diversity recruiting efforts.”

According to data spanning from 2019-2023 – from before the pandemic to after – employers reported still prioritizing the recruitment of Black and women workers over other demographics, though all demographics saw fluctuations in priority over the past five years.

"In terms of ... schools and organizations used in diversity recruiting, HBCUs, HSIs, women's colleges, and [others] are where they're looking at,” Gatta said.

Compared to 2021, Black recruitment saw around a 6% decrease, from 99.1% to 92.6%. Women saw a 4% decrease from last year, 96.6% to 92.6%, and Asian recruitment priorities fell almost 7% from 2019, 56.4% to 49.7%.













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