Entry Level: The Impact of Low Unemployment on Recent Graduates
Share |

Entry Level: The Impact of Low Unemployment on Recent Graduates


Allie Davis

Executive Recruiter, Nelson Staffing


Recent estimates put Sacramento County’s unemployment rate at below 5%. With this continued low unemployment rate, employers are continuing to struggle to fill open positions. Those who graduated college this past May entered the job market in one of the most candidate-friendly environments in recent history. In fact, during this year’s graduation season, Indeed named Sacramento California’s best metropolitan area for job seekers.

This is impacting employers’ efforts to attract top talent, and how new graduates are approaching their job searches.


“I did not expect the response I got from employers when I started applying for jobs,” explained Erin Jasper, a 2017 Sonoma State graduate who found an entry-level position in marketing immediately after graduation. “Professors and advisors told us the job market was very tight and it would take us a while to get jobs, so I started by applying for every position I could. However, I quickly figured out this strategy was unsustainable because I was inundated with responses. This experience let me be more selective about where I applied.”


“From the second I submitted my first application to the date I was hired, I received numerous requests for interviews. The low unemployment rate did not negatively affect my ability to find a position,” stated Michelle Kesich, a recent 2017 Dominican University of California graduate.


Erin and Michelle are not alone; many Northern California recent graduates are facing the same situation, and many are taking a new approach to job searching. In today’s “swipe right” culture, with endless options for food, dates, and even jobs at our fingertips, some grads are taking a step back and waiting until employers come to them. “I know lots of recent graduates who wait for recruiters to reach out to them, because they’re getting contacted on LinkedIn and from job boards,” said Erin. “They don’t feel the need to actively apply for positions because they know it’s a numbers game; the right recruiter will eventually approach them with the right position, so why should they take the time to submit lots of applications?”


What can employers do to counteract both this declining population of available job seekers, and a perception that job seekers may not even need to apply to jobs? On this topic, Michelle stated, “Look for an employer to be respectful, honest, and trusting. My CEO treats me like family and has always had the utmost respect for myself and our company. It is very important for employers to listen to their employees and understand them on a personal level because sometimes the workplace becomes personal. My CEO has been very supportive when I needed to take time away from work for personal reasons during my probation period. His understanding and compassion shows me that I chose the right position. I hope everyone finds that connection with their employer.”


Here are a few strategies that can be effective for overcoming these challenges and appealing to recent graduates and other young professionals.  


1.    Offer an environment rich with the benefits and traits important to this group. As a group, young professionals are more likely than previous generations to look for both job flexibility and meaning in their work, so be open to offering options like remote work opportunities, flex-time, generous vacation plans, relaxed dress codes, and charitable involvement programs. Programs with hands-on training and professional development opportunities are also in huge demand. Then, check in with employees often to make sure your benefits offering is still on target.

2.    Be flexible when it comes to “candidate deal-breakers.” When you have a plethora of available candidates, it’s easy consider every interview faux pas a deal-breaker. However, many young professionals who could be fantastic employees may look at interviewing differently than previous generations (for example, thinking it’s more appropriate to check their phone for the time during your discussion, dressing more casually than you would expect, or sporting a visible tattoo). Try to be flexible with these types of considerations so you don’t overlook a potentially outstanding employee because of a somewhat arbitrary expectation that could be due to a generational culture difference.

3.    Go where the candidates are. If candidates aren’t coming to your website to apply for jobs, you need to go to them. For example, try reaching out to local universities about opportunities to speak to students who want to work in your field, and offer tips for succeeding. This will help the students become familiar with your company and opportunities well before graduation. Also, understand that networking and social events aren’t mutually exclusive. An early fall barbecue can be the perfect opportunity to expand your network and connect with potential candidates.

4.    Work with a staffing company. Companies like Nelson understand the job market and what’s going to appeal to today’s young professional candidates. If you’re facing challenges recruiting, working with a staffing company can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to find the person or people you need to add to your team.



Allie Davis joined Nelson in in 2014 as a Temporary Staffing Supervisor in the San Francisco region. After a year within the organization, she was promoted to Executive Recruiter for the Modesto, Sacramento, and Fairfield regions. Allie is passionate about bringing people together and being a helpful resource for both candidates and clients. In her time as an Executive Recruiter, she has developed a significant number of meaningful relationships and has proven her ability to follow through and deliver high quality service. Allie serves a variety of companies throughout diverse industries with talent needs of all types and is a graduate of Sonoma State University with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration

Contact Us

Sacramento Area Human Resource Association
1800 J Street Sacramento, CA 95811

916.451.9031 916.448.5933 fax info@sahra.org