iCIMS releases Class of 2020 Survey Results

The U.S. college graduating class of 2020 expected to apply to an average of 10 jobs before lockdown, and after, that number doubled to 20, according to new research from iCIMS. The market-leading cloud platform for recruiting – with more than 4,000 customers worldwide, including 7-Eleven, Rite Aid, Enterprise Holdings and HD Supply – today published its Class of 2020 report, revealing changes in the expectations of graduating seniors and insight on how employers will recruit entry-level talent, as the economy itself shifts gears.

The report is based on a survey of 500 U.S. college seniors and 500 recruiters and human resource professionals, along with data points and trends from iCIMS’ proprietary database of more than 3 million job postings, 75 million applications and 4 million hires each year.

“The college graduating class of 2020 had big career hopes and expected to be welcomed by a strong job market,” said Irene DeNigris, chief people officer at iCIMS. “Employers were thriving and needed candidates to fill open positions in their growing businesses. However, the economy shifted in response to the global health crisis and is changing the way employers hire. Our new reality reinforces the need for flexibility, as the center of gravity shifts from a candidates’ market to an employers’ market. It is more critical than ever before to be prepared for the future of work, continuing to put people at the forefront of all that we do.”

Some companies are hiring at an increased speed and volume, while others are transitioning to a completely virtual hiring and onboarding structure, hiring with precision, or solely focused on maintaining engagement with talent pools and current employees. While employers navigate changing business needs, HR and talent acquisition leaders must plan for long-term success.

The Class of 2020 report reveals preferences and expectations of the newest wave of candidates entering the job market, as well as how leading employers are maintaining their talent goals:

  • Some of the top tools and methods college seniors are using to search for jobs are Google (64%), social media/job board hybrids such as LinkedIn (64%), company career pages (57%) and career fairs (57%).
    • Employer takeaway: Improve the quality of job applicants and drive more relevant traffic to career portals by focusing on the SEO of job postings so they get picked up by Google. Ensure the company career site is dynamic and mobile-friendly, and pivot events strategies to host virtual career fairs.
  • The overwhelming majority (95%) of job seekers entering the workforce expect hearing back from an employer in less than two weeks after applying for a specific position.
    • Employer takeaway: Prioritize transparency in application statuses, knowing that students are actively submitting to jobs, as companies’ timeframes shift. Utilize candidate relationship management (CRM) tools, texting, and online job portals to keep candidates engaged and informed.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 (66%) recruiting professionals say they have been ghosted by a candidate in the past year and nearly 1 in 3 (32%) say they have been ghosted more than five times.
    • Employer takeaway: Avoid getting ghosted by keeping candidates engaged through regular updates in job portals and via text messages and emails sent through a CRM.
  • College seniors say timeliness of the employer’s response is the most important factor during the hiring process.
    • Employer takeaway: Use automated, modern communication channels like texting and AI-powered chatbots to accelerate response times while creating authentic recruiter interactions anytime, anywhere.
  • At the time the survey was conducted in mid-March, this year’s graduates stated they are expecting to earn $48,781, on average, for their first job – men expect slightly more at $51,654 while women anticipate earning $47,663 – but employers are willing to pay $54,585, which is a $10,000+ jump from what they were paying five years ago.
    • Employer takeaway: With the sharp twist in the job market, employers now have more leverage, because of the influx in the supply of talent that is now in the market, and salary expectations and offers may change. Take a total rewards approach when offering entry-level candidates a position. While salary is important, they value stability more than ever right now, and they also consider work perks and benefits, culture, flexibility, a diverse and inclusive workforce and a commitment to good corporate citizenship when evaluating employers.
  • When they get the offer, nearly 60% of college seniors prefer to complete their intake paperwork digitally.
    • Employer takeaway: Implement technology to manage the offer letter process and use digital web portals for paperwork so new hires are left with a good impression during this critical phase of the employment process.

Read the full Class of 2020 report

About iCIMS:

iCIMS is the leading cloud platform for recruiting. iCIMS enables companies to manage and scale their recruiting programs through an award-winning end-to-end talent acquisition platform and an ecosystem of nearly 300 integrated partners. Established in 2000, iCIMS supports more than 4,000 customers, including nearly 20% of Fortune 100 companies, hiring 4 million people each year. For more information, visit www.icims.com.


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