UConn Class of 2015 enter robust job market

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

STORRS - For some moms on Mother's Day was extra special as they witnessed their children graduating from college.

Commencement ceremonies were held across the state, including at the University of Connecticut, where about 4,500 students received their bachelor's degrees from UConn on Sunday.

The Class of 2015, which includes more than 8,000 UConn undergraduate and graduate students are entering a  job market with the best hiring outlook since 2007, according to a recent careerbuilder study.

"It's been a really a dark and cloudy picture over the past few years, but for this class and moving forward, the economy looks pretty strong," said economist Ron Van Winkle.

Van Winkle says the economy has began to "pick up" in the past 12 months and employers have began hiring more frequently and paying higher wages to lure workers with more options on the job market.

Unemployment levels in the U.S. have reach the lowest in seven years.

Experts predict the average salary for all industries will increase by 3 to 4 percent in the next 12 months. Wages have remained virtually stagnant since the recession.

"It's a good job market out there," said Udayarka Karra, who earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering from UConn.

Karra already has a job lined up at an engineering firm in Middletown, but he says it took a long time to land his dream job.

"It took me a couple of years to find the right people and get the job, so it's not going to be that you're going to walk out the door and there's a job," Karra said.

Graduates with technical backgrounds continue to be the most desirable for companies.  Engineering majors top the list of college degrees that pay the highest salaries to new college graduates (more than $60,000/yr on average)

Shaun Fritts, a  mechanical engineering and German dual major has been looking for engineering jobs all over the east coast.

"Getting the resume out together, getting all those cover letters together--there's a lot of openings out there. There's a lot of engineers graduating, so competition is definitely there," Fritts said.

Fritts, a Pennsylvania native says he wouldn't mind working in Connecticut.

However, the state continues struggles to keep post college grads living and working  in Connecticut after graduation.  The state's economic recovery has been sluggish by many accounts.

Still, economists say major companies are hiring but sometimes lack finding qualified candidates.

Van Winkle says recent graduates with technology and financial backgrounds are in high demand in the Hartford area.

"Out insurance companies are struggling to find people to fill jobs, not the low end jobs, but that job where that person has that financial background to be able to do the work they need," said Van Winkle.

In 2007, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 51 percent of students had a job offer by graduation. Last year, it was just 30 percent--- the same as in 2013, and barely higher in 2012.

This year's data won't be available any time soon.

Experts say those numbers tend to be a little higher for UConn students.