The class of 2023 forges ahead

Six things to know about the next cohort of college job seekers

This fall, the class of 2023 will enter their final year of college with a range of experiences under their belt: a global pandemic, an unprecedented shift to remote instruction (and back again), the Great Resignation, and rising inflation. Given a steady stream of news around a potential recession and a possible contraction in hiring, how will the newest cohort of college jobseekers respond?

To find out, we asked the incoming class of 2023 how they feel about the economy, what actions they’re taking to land a job, and how confident they are about securing a meaningful, well-paying job.

We found a group anxious about the near term, but optimistic about their long-term future. Worries about money and stability pervaded responses to every question, even as the group by and large expressed a positive outlook about what is ahead.

Read the report

Key takeaways

  1. The class of 2023 is worried. Half the class of 2023 said the current economic news has affected how they feel—and act—regarding their future career prospects.
  2. The class of 2023 is applying to more jobs, sooner. Not only is economic uncertainty motivating about half of this class of graduating seniors to apply to more jobs, but about one third are planning to apply to a more diverse range of jobs, and one fifth are planning to start their search sooner.
  3. The class of 2023 is mindful of industry news. News of lay-offs and changes in hiring in the tech sector is being noticed: as of August 1st, cumulative full-time job postings by tech employers on Handshake fell below the number of postings from the same point in time last year—and our respondents took note.
  4. The class of 2023 is seeking stability and salary. Driven by inflation and concerns around layoffs, an overwhelming majority (74%) of this year’s future grads say they prioritize stability and salary from employers, far outweighing factors like a known employer brand (41%) or a fast-growing field (39%).
  5. The class of 2023 prefers hybrid work—and for the right job, they’re willing to relocate. More than 3 out of 5 respondents prefer to work in a hybrid environment, and two-thirds say they would be willing to change cities for the right job.
  6. The class of 2023 still has high hopes for their career. Despite describing themselves as anxious about the economy, over 80% believe they can find a well-paying and personally fulfilling job, and 87% believe this job can be in a field they are interested in.

Anxious, but optimistic: the class of 2023 forges through their last year in college.

Graphic showing class of 2023 responses to whether they believe they can find a well-paying, personally fulfilling, and relevant job.

Learn more

  • Join us for a discussion of the report’s findings and strategies for how career educators can support students throughout the job search.Register now
  • A drop in tech hiring? Employer demand for TikTok skills? Check out short, bite-sized insights from our network at the Handshake Network Trends blog.Check out the blog
  • Dive deeper into remote working trends and learn which cities are benefiting most from Gen Z’s interest in distributed work.Read the report
By Handshake Network Trends
Handshake Network Trends