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Fewer Jobs but Higher Pay Await Grads, Survey Says

December 04, 1986|Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. — College graduates in the 1986-87 academic year will find fewer jobs but higher salaries than students who attained their degrees a year earlier, according to Michigan State University's annual survey of employers.

Graduates be warned: The employers consider drug screening an ethical procedure, said the survey released Thursday. Twenty percent said they screen new college graduates for drug use, and 95% of those who do said they'll reject job applicants when tests turn up positive.

More than 630 job providers throughout the nation said they expected to hire 58,942 graduates during the year, 2.4% fewer than the 61,651 graduates they hired last year, according to the survey, entitled "Recruiting Trends for 1986-87."

"It is evident that surveyed employers are approaching this year's recruitment with caution, since they are anticipating a slight decrease from last year's job market for new college graduates," the study concluded.

Slightly more than 100 of the 761 businesses, industries, governmental agencies and educational institutions surveyed say they don't expect to hire any new graduates during the year.

Cause of Decrease

Employers with 10,000 or more workers will be largely responsible for the decrease in new jobs, since they are expecting to hire 9.3% fewer graduates, roughly 31,100 hires this year compared to almost 34,000 last year, the survey said.

"That's quite a cut," said John Shingleton, Michigan State's placement director and author of the study.

"They're downsizing, that's the buzzword today in industry. They've decided there's a lot of fat, . . . and they're going to cut that fat out."

Reasons for the decrease include a stable economy, changes in technology and global competition, Shingleton said.

Computers also have helped employers phase out many middle-management jobs, and the global economy is forcing the nation's employers "to be more lean and mean," Shingleton said.

The survey found that employers with up to 5,000 workers said they expect to hire more new graduates than last year, while those with 5,000-9,999 employees expect a slight decrease.

Minorities and women should find more jobs, since the employers reported increases of 4% above last year for minorities and 2.5% for women, according to the study.

Areas of Specialty

It also found increases in demand for graduates with majors in hotel, restaurant and institutional management, 2.9%; marketing and sales, 2.1%; education, 1.7%, and electrical engineering, 1.2%.

Starting salaries for graduates with bachelor's degrees will likely rise to about $21,815. The survey says employers expected the average starting salary to be 2.9% higher than last year.

Graduates with master's degrees can expect to command starting salaries of about $26,628, while graduates with doctorates will start at about $30,754.

Again this year, the highest of the starting salaries by major are electrical engineering, $29,680; mechanical engineering, $29,636; chemical engineering, $29,254; metallurgy and materials science, $28,309, and computer science, $28,087.

This year's graduates will find jobs most available in the Southwest, according to employers responding to the survey. Rated next best by location are the Northeast and Southeast.

The study, the 16th annual survey by Michigan State, was conducted in October and November, Shingleton said.

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