<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >14 Campus Recruiting Trends to Watch in 2023</span>

14 Campus Recruiting Trends to Watch in 2023

The early career recruitment landscape is always evolving, and if recruiters and employers want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting the best Gen Z talent, they need to keep up with the latest campus recruiting trends related to the newest crop of workers.

To shed light on the current state of internship and entry-level hiring and bridge the gap between employers and candidates, RippleMatch extensively analyzed the actions of the thousands of recruiters who use our platform, and the millions of Gen Z candidates who turned to us to match with great opportunities from spring 2022 to spring 2023.

Our analysis reveals crucial trends that shape recruiters' recruitment timelines, such as peak periods for open roles, recruitment events, and application volumes. Additionally, we delved into trends related to recruiters' performance, such as how they are focusing on candidate experience and the inclusivity of their talent pipelines, encompassing URM, female, nonbinary, and LGBTQ candidates.

Furthermore, we present insights from a spring 2023 survey conducted with internship and entry-level candidates, providing valuable information on the workplace preferences of Gen Z over time.

Below are some of the top trends that emerged from the data we collected for our benchmarking report, “The Early Career Recruitment Index.” 

1. October is a popular month for employers to be accepting early career applicants

To better understand the timeline for early career recruiting, we analyzed all of the open roles on our platform from spring 2022 to spring 2023 to determine which months had the highest share of open opportunities for early career candidates. We discovered that October is the most popular month for employers on our platform to be accepting applicants across both STEM and non-STEM roles. Specifically, we found that 44% of all STEM roles listed on our platform during the calendar year were accepting applicants in October, as well as 36% of non-STEM roles. To compare, in January 30% of all STEM roles listed on our platform during the calendar year were accepting applicants, as well as 29% of non-STEM roles.


2. Recruiters are offering a mix of in-person and virtual events to attract Gen Z

Virtual recruitment should no longer be considered a fleeting trend from the pandemic. In fact, employers are hosting a mix of both in-person and virtual events to connect with candidates face-to-face when time and budget allows, as well as scaling their impact across the country and across different backgrounds online. Analyzing the breakdown of in-person and virtual events that employers on our platform hosted from spring 2022 to spring 2023, we found that 41% of the events that employers on our platform hosted took place in person, while 59% of events took place virtually. This slightly heavier reliance on virtual events is conducive to the focus of employers on our platform to connect with a diverse slate of talent from across the country, without geographical constraints. 


3. Most recruitment events for early career candidates take place in September

We found that September is the busiest month in terms of recruitment events for early career candidates, with 26% of all recruitment events for the year on our platform taking place just as students get settled back on campus. This aligns with the fact that the highest share of open roles and applications occurs just one month later in October. Clearly, employers view September as an ideal time to increase brand awareness and invite talent into their funnel as they begin to open roles for them. 


4. Top employers for early career candidates are prioritizing speedy response times to applicants

The speed at which recruiters can respond to candidates’ applications is critical when it comes to competing for top talent. Not only does a slow or lack of response to initial applicants (even if you are rejecting them) leave your company at risk of providing a negative candidate experience and tarnishing your reputation, but it also leaves room for your competition to scoop up talent that was originally interested in your roles. Using RippleMatch to sort through applications, recruiters on our platform are able to respond to all of their applicants much faster than the industry average of 17 days (~5 days), quickly rejecting unqualified ones and focusing on advancing great candidates through their hiring process.


5. DE&I-focused employers are deemphasizing school prestige

When it comes to candidate qualifications, we discovered that recruiters on our platform with a focus on diversity recruiting do not place a large emphasis on GPA or school tier, enabling them to further diversify their talent pipelines. In fact, we found that just 12% of STEM roles and 9% of non-STEM roles came with a GPA requirement. Looking at school-tier, we discovered that a strong majority of recruiters on our platform have chosen to source from all the colleges and universities represented within our candidate network, with less than 20% of employers choosing to source from the top 100, 50, or 20 schools as defined by U.S. News on their school ranking lists. 


6. Forward-thinking employers are filling their early career talent pipelines with a diverse slate of talent

Employers on our platform are dedicated to diversifying the workforce and adding talent from different backgrounds into their early career talent pipelines. To do so, they rely on RippleMatch to connect them with traditionally underrepresented talent. In fact, our active candidate network represents more than 310 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the country, and 75% of candidates on our platform identify with one or more underrepresented group. Looking at the diversity of pipelines of employers on our platform, we found that the median share of underrepresented identities (which we define as candidates who identify as URM, female, non-binary, or LGBTQ) in platform user’s pipelines is 81%, and employers in the top 75th percentile for diversity recruiting have a talent pipeline in which 90% of candidates are an underrepresented identity.


7. Some early career recruiting software is more efficient than others

Our analysis revealed that recruiters using RippleMatch have a significantly higher success rates in advancing qualified candidates to first-round interviews compared to other campus or university recruiting platforms. Using data from our platform and survey data, we discovered that nearly 50% of candidates that recruiters source on RippleMatch are invited to a first-round interview, compared to 14% of candidates from career services, 12% from campus recruiting platforms like Untapped and Handshake, and 6% from LinkedIn. With limited resources and budget, it’s critical today that recruiters spend less time sifting through unqualified candidates, and more time engaging great candidates actively looking for jobs. Learn more about why RippleMatch is the new way to recruit Gen Z here.


8. The share of early career candidates that are not confident in the job search has increased

From redefining career priorities to reshaping the way we work, Gen Z candidates are ushering in a new era of workforce dynamics. Over the past few years, however, we’ve noticed a behavioral shift among Gen Z candidates that has the potential to impede the innovative thinking they bring to the table, which is crucial for industries seeking to future-proof their organizations. Specifically, survey data that we have been collecting since fall 2021 indicates that Gen Z candidates are losing confidence in their ability to secure a good internship or job in this economy. Our data shows that while just 10% of candidates were not confident that they could secure an opportunity that met their standards in fall 2021, that number rose to 51% last winter and nearly 60% this spring. 


9. Gen Z is submitting a high volume of applications during their internship and job searches

When we surveyed students in March 2022, we found two trends: that students were either sending out a large number of applications (more than 60), or sending out a much lower number of applications (1-20). For example, we found that while 27.7% of full-time candidates sent out more than 60 applications, 41.7% sent out just 1-20 applications. Today, the trend has shifted more toward sending out a larger volume of applicants, with under a quarter of candidates limiting their search to 1-20 applications. 


10. Gen Z candidates remain steadfast in their attitudes toward reneges

The survey data that we collected from internship and entry-level job seekers over the last year indicates that Gen Z is unafraid to back out of their offers and pursue other opportunities if they better align with their preferences and career goals. Specifically, we found that the percentage of candidates that said they would rescind their original offer for a ‘better’ one hasn’t changed significantly over time. In fact, 73% of candidates in spring 2022 said they would renege; 75% of candidates in fall 2022 said they would renege; and 68% of candidates in spring 2023 said they would renege. One reason for the slight decrease in candidates agreeing they would renege in spring 2023 may be a reaction to the current economic climate and widespread layoffs (in the tech industry specifically). That being said, the percentage of candidates agreeing that they would rescind an offer for one they found to be superior has remained high despite significant changes in the economy. 


11. A majority of early career candidates are satisfied with their salary offers

When we surveyed candidates in spring 2023, we found that nearly three quarters of internship and full-time job seekers were satisfied with the compensation they were offered, while 22% accepted an offer that did not meet their salary expectations. When digging into the reasons as to why they would accept an offer they were not satisfied with (graph below), we learned that nearly 50% felt that it was better to accept the position rather than not have an internship or job at all.


12. STEM majors expect to make no less than $70k & non-STEM majors $60k

Looking at both what candidates on our platform expect in terms of salary, and what news grads are earning in 2023, we found that STEM majors today are expecting a minimum of around $70,000 in their first roles, and non-STEM majors are looking at minimum salaries of around $60,000. This data is important to consider as you determine the entry-level salaries that would set you up to compete for top talent, show candidates they are valued, and avoid reneges.


13. Hybrid is Gen Z’s work format of choice

Gen Z was the first generation to fully embrace remote working as the norm during Covid-19 pandemic, whether they were starting their first jobs, internships, or attending college virtually. But as the world continues to adjust to a post-pandemic reality, we sought to discover how Gen Z truly prefers to work and how that has changed over time. Across three points in time (spring 2022, fall 2022, spring 2023), we found that Gen Z prefers hybrid work, with a stronger preference for companies to determine what days they are expected to be in-person (over it being their choice) since fall 2022. 


14. Many Gen Z candidates expect to stay at their employer for more than 2.5 years

One common misconception about Gen Z is that they are job hoppers and don’t plan to remain at one company for a significant amount of time. However, the data that we collected on internship and entry-level candidates paints a different picture. In fact, we found that Gen Z candidates do possess a sense of loyalty for their employers, and are willing to invest the time in their companies to make a significant contribution. Specifically, we found that just 14% of candidates who took our spring 2023 survey said that they only expected to remain at their employer for one year or less, with almost half expecting to remain at one employer for 2.5 years or more.


In an era of unprecedented uncertainty, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest trends and insights in campus recruiting. Understanding these trends can empower recruiters and employers to navigate the shifting landscape of early career recruitment more effectively, and stay informed about the expectations of early career candidates. By staying ahead of the curve, you can gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining the best Gen Z talent.

If you’re looking for more analysis of the trends in this article and actions your team can take in response to our data , you can find our full benchmarking report here


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