By Sarah Halzack
Saturday, May 17, 2014

It’s college graduation season, meaning throngs of young workers with freshly minted diplomas are hustling to land their first jobs. As the economy continues to slowly improve, it appears the class of 2014 is facing a sunnier job market for entry-level workers than was seen last year, with demand especially concentrated in the business and information technology areas.

A study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers plan to hire 8.6 percent more graduates from the class of 2014 than they did from last year’s graduating class. The same survey found that 48.4 percent of companies plan to increase their new-graduate hires this year.

From a scrappy space start-up founded in 1982 by three Harvard Business School friends, the Dulles-based company has come a long way.

According to NACE research, the average starting salary for 2014 college graduates with bachelor’s degrees has increased 1.2 percent over 2013.

“It’s just a slow turnaround from where we were during the recession,” said Andrea Koncz, NACE’s employment information manager.

Colleges across the region say they have noticed signs of this planned uptick in recruitment and hiring. At George Washington University, career services director Rachel Brown said she has seen a 15 percent increase in employer engagement on campus this spring.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Brown said. “Students still have to be on their ‘A’ game and be very well-prepared. There’s still a lot of competition and it’s still tight.”

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