The class of 2024 is facing a tough job market. Here’s who’s hiring, according to LinkedIn

 The class of 2024 is facing a tough job market. Hiring has slowed across the U.S., and entry-level jobs are getting more competitive in the wake of white-collar layoffs.

Tai Walker, a senior at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, started her job search in March 2024 and has submitted over 100 applications. She’s landed dozens of interviews, but no offers. 

The 27-year-old is set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in leadership and professional studies in August. Based on conversations with her peers who graduated in 2022 and 2023, Walker says she thought she’d search for jobs with minimal stress — and have her choice of offers. 

“It’s a lot harder than I expected,” Walker, who’s mostly applying to consulting jobs, tells CNBC Make It. “It feels impossible at times.” 

Walker says she’s researching artificial intelligence and other tech boot camps to broaden her skill set and increase her job prospects. She’s also contemplating a part-time job to help pay her bills and gain work experience. 

“The labor market was red-hot in 2021 and 2022, but that level of feverish activity has calmed down,” Harry Holzer, a Georgetown University public policy professor and former Labor Department chief economist, told LinkedIn earlier this week. “The Fed wanted it to [come] down as a battle against inflation, which means taking some wind out of the sails. Any calming down in the labor market is going to affect new entrants first.”

Employers’ overall hiring projections for the class of 2024 are down 5.8% from last year, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

Even though some entry-level jobs have gotten harder to land, industries experiencing staffing shortages like education and construction are still hiring new college grads. And instead of wrapping campus hiring in the fall, as employers have in recent years, many are recruiting into summer, according to new research from LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn, these are the industries hiring the most entry-level talent:

  1. Education
  2. Government administration
  3. Construction
  4. Consumer services 
  5. Financial services

The top jobs hiring for entry-level talent are: 

  1. Investment banking analyst
  2. Behavioral health technician
  3. Medical assistant
  4. Financial analyst 
  5. Salesperson

Entering a tight job market can feel discouraging, but looking at rapidly hiring industries can help you maximize your search, says Kory Kantenga, LinkedIn’s head of Americas economist. 

Tech, traditionally a beacon of high-paying entry-level jobs, is being more cautious with hiring as companies prioritize experienced candidates who can immediately contribute to their bottom line, Kantenga explains.

But education — which includes roles like teacher, admissions counselor, and administrative assistant —hired 15% more recent graduates in 2023 compared to 2022, LinkedIn reports.

Healthcare and government have had persistent staffing shortages since the Covid-19 pandemic started at the same time as demand for services in both categories has surged — creating ample opportunities for new graduates. 

Kantenga offers some advice for new grads on the job hunt: Don’t limit your search to your major. 

“What’s far more important is the skills you’ve learned that you can leverage on the job,” he says. “If you’re good at problem-solving, analyzing data or leading a group project from start to finish, those are all transferable skills that can apply to any job. You can still go after jobs in finance if you’re an art history major. Embrace the freedom to explore.”

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