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Results show more employers paying a premium for specific qualifications; students need to be more adaptable to the work environment, with realistic career and compensation expectations

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466,; Wendy LoCicero, American Society of Employers (ASE), 248.223.8006,

Livonia, Mich. —May 23, 2016 — The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, today released the organization’s 2016 Starting Salaries for Co-op Students and Recent College Graduates survey. The annual survey provides a comprehensive look at current workforce conditions and reveals what co-op students and recent college graduates can expect in terms of job availability and compensation. Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of ASE, says the 2016 survey reveals strong interest by employers to invest in students, as well as a high demand for graduates with technical and business-related degrees.

“In addition to providing updated salary information, this year’s survey reflects that the investment by Detroit area employers in co-op and internship programs remains strong,” Corrado said. “It also affirms the financial rewards available to new graduates with degrees in key engineering and business fields.”

170 companies responded to the 2016 Starting Salaries for Co-op Students and Recent College Graduates survey, which was distributed to 2200 employers in an online format in February. 75% of respondents are located in the metro Detroit region with an average of 590 employees (median employee count of 164); 48% are classified as automotive suppliers.

2016 Starting Salaries for Co-op Students and Recent College Graduates Survey Highlights:
• The “Labor Market” (62%) and “Performance of the Company” (50%) continue to be the two largest reasons for a change in hiring and recruiting practices for recent college graduates.
• There was a 5% overall increase from 2015 in organizations providing benefits to co-op students. Auto suppliers providing benefits to co-ops increased 9%.
• For college co-ops, the following benefits were provided at least 10% more often than in 2015: medical coverage, prescription drug coverage and dental coverage.
• There was a 10% increase in service industry companies who have hired recent college graduates in the past year, or plan to in 2016.
• Hiring of MBA students has increased since 2015. Hiring of MBA students with a technical undergraduate degree increased 12%; for MBA students with a non-technical B.A., the hiring increased 14%.

Hiring Trends:
• Nearly four out of five (79%) respondents say their company has hired, or plans to hire, a recent college graduate in 2016.
o Three out of five (60%) of those companies say hiring practices have remained the same in 2016 as 2015.
o Nearly two out of five (38%) of the companies who have hired or plan to hire a recent graduate in 2016 have increased their hiring efforts this year.
• Statistically, the top five in-state institutions the responding companies actively recruit from are: 1) University of Michigan; 2) Michigan State University; 3) Oakland University; 4) Wayne State University; 5) Kettering University.
• The top three most popular technical Bachelor-degree disciplines hired in the past year were: 1) Mechanical Engineering; 2) Electrical Engineering; 3) Computer Science.
• The top three most popular non-technical Bachelor-degree disciplines hired in the past year were: 1) Business Administration; 2) Accounting; 3) Human Resources/Labor Relations.
• Automotive suppliers have decreased their hiring of Bachelor-level mechanical engineers, resulting in a 16% decrease in hiring among automotive suppliers compared to a year ago.

Candidate and Salary Trends:
• The top three knowledge/skill factors organizations consider when making hiring decisions, in order, are: 1) computer skills; 2) related coursework (i.e., to the work required in the job); 3) work experience/internships.
• As in 2015, the top three perceived shortcomings of recent college graduates are: 1) adaptability to the work environment (58%); 2) career expectations (55%); 3) compensation expectations (46%).
• Fewer companies are paying a premium for graduates from specific schools. Overall the percentage dropped from 6% in 2015 to 3% this year. But in Non-Auto Supplier organizations, the percentage dropped from 14% to 0%.
• However, more organizations are instead paying premiums for graduates with certain qualifications. 15% more service organizations, 18% more organizations with under 100 employees and 9% more Non-Auto Suppliers reported paying these premiums than what was reported in 2015. The overall increase was 5%.
• Of the six disciplines previously named (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Business Administration, Accounting and Human Resources/Labor Relations), the highest starting salaries went to the engineering disciplines. The average starting salary for Mechanical Engineering was $60,574 and $59,096 for Electrical Engineering. Computer Science came in on average at $57,115; Accounting at $49,918; Business Administration at $48,483; and Human Resources/Labor Relations at $49,485.
• Pay rates for college co-ops and interns were separated by technical and non-technical roles; the average hourly rate for a college senior in a technical field is $17.36 an hour and $15.40 for a non-technical field; the average hourly rate for a college junior in a technical field is $16.09 an hour and $14.59 for a non-technical field.

To obtain a copy of the 2016 Starting Salaries for Co-op Students and Recent College Graduates survey, contact Kevin Marrs, Vice President at ASE, 248-223-8025 or

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at