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Class of 2015 should find 'welcoming' job market, outplacement firm says

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The more than 1.8 million students graduating from college in the U.S. this year will find “welcoming conditions” in the entry-level job market upon their commencement, according to a forecast from outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“In addition to an improving economy, we are beginning to see a rising number of retirements, which is creating more room for upward advancement, and in turn, creating opportunities for entry-level candidates,” John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a release.

“This is the time in the economic cycle for companies to invest in the future of their workforce and reinforce their bench strength.”

At a time when companies are beginning to hire succession consultants and consider upgrades to appease the millennial workforce, a rising demand for talent in finance, business administration, technology, health care — and especially engineering, business and computer science — has led to a significant decline in unemployment among recent grads over the last year.

And as of March, the unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees was 4.4 percent — down 2 percentage points from 2014, and about half of its peak of 8.5 percent in March 2011.

“Despite a much improved job market for entry-level candidates, soon-to-be graduates cannot expect to hand out a few resumes at job fairs and reply to some online postings and simply wait for a phone call or email,” Challenger said.

“One of the most important elements of a successful job search, for both entry-level job seekers and their more-experienced counterparts, is (still) networking and meeting face-to-face with people who can help advance the job search.”

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