The Job Outlook for the Class of 2024

Experts fear ‘catastrophic’ college declines thanks to botched FAFSA rollout

How will the Class of 2024 grads fare in this job market? We are constantly on top of the news and job reports to make sure Next Great Step understands the trends that are affecting our graduates looking to enter the job market. We also hear from parents, students, and grads every day and have first-hand accounts of what our early job seekers are experiencing. Here is our summary:


  • Overall hiring for the college Class of 2024 is projected to dip by 1.9%, according to results of NACE’s Job Outlook 2024 survey.
  • Technology, finance, and consulting have been cutting costs and consolidating their workforces. Google, Amazon, Wayfair, UPS, and IBM have announced layoffs and are scaling back on hiring.
  • Consulting firms like EY are delaying start dates for new grads across the US to deal with an industry-wide slowdown in demand for its services. May 2023 grads are just starting their jobs now.
  • Competition. In 2022, there was a job opening for every applicant, according to LinkedIn. Now, in 2024 there are 2 applicants for every job.
  • The average time to land a job has increased to 6 months from 5.5 months in 2023.
  • A big disconnect remains between employers’ expectations and college grads in terms of workplace readiness. Employers cited the skills college graduates lack the most are interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, leadership, and written and oral communication.


  • The Bureau of Statistics (BLS) reported that the U.S. economy added 353,000 jobs in January 2024, well ahead of expectations and outpacing 2023’s average monthly gains of 255,000.
  • LinkedIn has seen a 21% increase in job postings advertising skills and responsibilities instead of qualifications. With less focus on GPA.
  • According to NACE, nearly 90% of employers are seeking evidence of a student’s ability to solve problems and nearly 80% are seeking candidates who have strong teamwork skills. These are skills that can gained in the classroom or campus activities.
  • Three-quarters of employers say the overall job market is favorable for the class of 2024 graduates.
  • When early candidates use targeted networking they yield favorable results in getting ahead in the recruiting process.
  • 43.3% of employers plan to increase salaries for new employees with a bachelor’s degree.

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Celia French

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