Survey: The five most employable majors

Engineering tops the list

The economy is improving—as employers plan to hire nearly 10% more college graduates in the United States this year compared to 2014—and some majors are considered especially desirable, according to a new National Association of Colleges and Employers survey.

The report is based on responses from 162 companies across a range of industries, including retail, energy, and agriculture. The questionnaire asked employers to rate majors they look for when hiring, as well as asking what skills candidates should have, Susan Adams writes for Forbes.

The top majors employers said they were targeting to hire were:

  1. 72% of firms wanted engineering majors;
  2. 68% wanted business majors;
  3. 58% wanted computer sciences majors;
  4. 51% wanted accounting majors; and
  5. 29% wanted economics majors. (The NACE survey ranked "miscellaneous majors" as the fifth most common response.)

The most valued skills in new hires were:

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving;
  2. Teamwork;
  3. Professionalism and work ethic;
  4. Oral and written communications; and
  5. Information technology application.

While humanities majors are often overlooked, they will not be out of work, says Dan Black, former president of NACE's board and current recruiting leader for accounting and professional services firm EY.

Why employers love liberal arts graduates

Black's company will make 9,000 college hires—including internships—this spring, he says. About 90% will be students studying computer science, accounting, and business, but about 10% will be pursuing other academic disciplines.

"The college hiring market is fairly robust, mirroring the economy in general. I'm bullish on the college employment outlook," says Black.

Forbes' Adams notes students in non-technical majors can leverage their school's career services office, network with alumni, volunteer, keep their GPAs up, and participate in extra-curricular activities to increase their chances of finding a job (Adams, Forbes, 4/15).

The takeaway: A new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers ranks engineering as the most employable major.

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