College Grads Facing Best Job Market Since 2007

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College students about to receive their diplomas are in for some extra good news; hiring of new grads is on the rise.

According to a national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 67% of employers are planning to hire recent college grads this year, up modestly from 2015. CareerBuilder, which polled more than 2,000 hiring managers, notes this is the highest outlook on record since 2007.

In terms of starting salaries, the CareerBuilder survey says 37% of employers plan to offer recent college graduates higher pay than last year, while 27% say they will offer a starting salary of $50,000 or more.

Still, despite this optimism, there are some fundamental issues keeping the Millennial generation from reaching its full employment potential after graduation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth unemployment rate was 10.4% in March compared to the national unemployment rate of 5%. While youth unemployment has historically been higher than the overall rate, experts say there are ways to close the gap.

“You read about all these amazing people who go on to be Mark Zuckerberg or whoever, and I think [Millennials] are idolizing a lot of what they ‘should’ be doing and not realizing what they’re good at or what they even want to do,” Liz Wessel, co-founder and CEO of WayUp, a jobs marketplace for college students, told

As a result of Millennials not having a grasp on what career they want to pursue by the time they graduate, there is a high turnover rate among entry level jobs. Employers with the perception that recent college grads are not committed or focused may be less inclined to hire them.

Wessel, a millennial entrepreneur herself, adds hiring managers often feel the generation is unprepared for the job market because of a lack of work experience. To that point, though, Wessel says many entry level job descriptions list “ridiculous” requirements such as three years’ work experience, which can scare youths away from pursuing them to begin with.

The answer to these hiring hindrances, while seemingly obvious, is to get some work experience under your belt long before graduation. While it’s commonplace today for students to compete for coveted summer internships in the corporate world, Wessel encourages them not to discount the value of minimum wage jobs.

“Working as a barista for example gives you customer service experience, it gives you financial experience. So maybe it’s on the students or the recent grads to be able to communicate that, but I think a lot of businesses are also overlooking those types of experiences.”

She adds, “We’re trying to start this whole movement of ‘you get to college, pick out your classes, then get a job.’”

And WayUp isn’t alone in their mission. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) recently launched a new standalone app for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Android called LinkedIn Students, which helps those in college find work while keeping their unique needs in mind.

“With LinkedIn having so much information on users; where they went to school, what they majored in and how they got to where they are in life, we really believe that we’re in the best position to help make that connection for new graduates,” Ada Yu, product lead for LinkedIn Students, told

“We can show them what’s possible for people who went to their school, alumni who are just like them. We can even show them opportunities that they may not have thought of just because they haven’t had the experience.”

While Yu says LinkedIn Students is mostly focused on finding graduates their first full-time job, “we are slowly going to start thinking about ‘how do we help the earlier students find internships over the summer?’ So that they can really hone their skills and stand out when they do graduate.”