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Attention, Class of 2022: These are the top 25 employers for recent grads

Taylor Nichols

Written By: Taylor Nichols

Published: 6/27/2022

Key Insights:

  • The top 25 companies hired 10% of recent college grads during the COVID pandemic
  • Tech, accounting and consulting, and finance companies top the list
  • More college grads are opting to work for themselves straight out of college

Needless to say, it's been a turbulent few years. Companies have either risen to the top or fallen off thanks to competing pressures from all sides. An initial economic downturn, stimulus checks, government funding to keep businesses afloat, supply shortages, lockdowns, remote work, and many other factors have significantly changed the labor market since 2019.

Looking back on the last three years may give us some insight into what the future of work will look like for today's college graduates. We took a look at employment data from more than 550,000 graduates who earned their degrees from 2019 through 2021 to find out where they worked one year after finishing their degree.

These top companies represent some of the biggest beneficiaries and quick adapters to changes to our daily lives like the shift to remote work during COVID-19, posting lots of open jobs despite the pandemic. The top 25 companies listed here hired over 10% of bachelor's graduates who earned their degrees in the last three years.

*Note: Because our study looks at where graduates worked one year after finishing their degree, we have limited data for 2021 graduates, many of whom are just now reaching their one-year mark in June 2022. As a result, the data is more heavily skewed toward the classes of 2019 and 2020 and their employers in 2020 and 2021.

Top 25 Companies Hiring Recent College Graduates

Rank Employer Number of Alumni Percent
1 Amazon 7,374 1.31%
2 Deloitte 5,256 0.93%
3 Ernst & Young 4,727 0.84%
4 KPMG 3,583 0.63%
5 PricewaterhouseCoopers 3,220 0.57%
6 Accenture 2,947 0.52%
7 Microsoft 2,693 0.48%
8 Freelance 2,435 0.43%
9 JP Morgan Chase Company 2,426 0.43%
10 Lockheed Martin Corporation 2,080 0.37%
11 Google 1,888 0.33%
12 Target 1,790 0.32%
13 Northrop Grumman 1,673 0.30%
14 Apple 1,584 0.28%
15 US Army 1,581 0.28%
16 IBM 1,575 0.28%
17 US Air Force 1,547 0.27%
18 The Goldman Sachs Group 1,528 0.27%
19 Wells Fargo 1,504 0.27%
20 Bank of America 1,366 0.24%
21 Walmart / Sam's 1,336 0.24%
22 Oracle 1,229 0.22%
23 The Boeing Company 1,227 0.22%
24 Capital One 1,219 0.22%
25 Citigroup 1,156 0.20%

Source: Emsi Burning Glass

Tech Companies

Unsurprisingly, tech companies reigned during the last three years. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, IBM, and Oracle are among the industry’s largest employers. These companies aren't just hiring software engineers, either. Amazon was the largest employer for business administration, marketing, and psychology majors alongside computer science graduates.

The most popular job for fresh college graduates at tech companies is, of course, as a software developer. After that, people got jobs as general managers, interns, sales consultants for Oracle, and order processors or entry clerks for Amazon.

Amazon (#1)

Top employer for computer science, business administration, marketing, and psychology majors

Microsoft (#7)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Business Administration, and Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs:
    • Software Developer
    • Engineering Program Manager
    • Intern
Google (#11)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Business Administration, and Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs: Software Developer, Intern, Product Manager
Apple (#14)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Business Administration, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs: Software Developer, Computer Support Specialist, Intern
IBM (#16)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Business Administration, Finance and Financial Management Services, and Engineering
  • Top Jobs: Software Developer, Business Consultant, Cyber Security Engineer
Oracle (#22)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Business Administration, Marketing, and Economics
  • Most Popular Jobs: Inside Sales Consultant, Software Developer Technical Consultant

Accounting and Consulting

The Big Four (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC) held strong in hiring, building on at least a decade of being some of the largest employers for bachelor's graduates. Accounting and consulting firms did suffer during COVID with a continuation of the slowed average revenue growth seen pre-pandemic. At the four largest U.S. accounting firms, however, that still resulted in billions of dollars in revenue in 2020. By the end of 2021, all four had grown revenue above pre-pandemic levels, with Deloitte breaking $50 billion in global revenue for the first time.

Deloitte (#2)

Top employer for economics majors

  • Top Degrees: Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, and Computer Science
  • Most Popular Jobs: Business Analyst, Consultant, Senior Business Analyst, Auditor
Ernst & Young (#3)

Top employer for management information systems and accounting majors

  • Top Degrees: Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, and Economics
  • Most Popular Jobs: Quality Assurance Manager, Consultant, Intern
KPMG (#4)
  • Top Degrees: Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, and Economics
  • Most Popular Jobs: Internal Audit Manager, Intern, Senior Accountant
PricewaterhouseCoopers (#5)
  • Top Degrees: Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, and Finance
  • Most Popular Jobs: Quality Assurance Auditor, Intern, Tax Preparer
Accenture (#6)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Business Administration, Computer and Information Sciences, and Economics
  • Most Popular Jobs: Senior Business Analyst, Software Developer, Systems Analyst

Banks and Finance

Much like tech companies, banks were also some of the biggest beneficiaries of COVID thanks in part to a $2 trillion increase in bank deposits from government funding. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup were among those that saw the most financial growth. They also were some of the largest employers for fresh college graduates over the last three years. Recent grads going into finance frequently entered the field in jobs as software developers, business and investment analysts, lead tellers, and financial relationship managers.

JP Morgan Chase Company (#9)

Top employer for finance and financial management majors

  • Top Degrees: Finance, Computer Science, Economics, and Business Administration
  • Most Popular Jobs:
    • Software Developer, Business Analyst, Investment Analyst
Goldman Sachs (#18)
  • Top Degrees: Finance, Economics, Computer Science, and Business Administration
  • Most Popular Jobs: Business Analyst, Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst
Wells Fargo (#19)
  • Top Degrees: Finance, Business Administration, Economics, and Accounting
  • Most Popular Jobs: Lead Teller, Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst
Bank of America (#20)
  • Top Degrees: Finance, Business Administration, Economics, and Computer Science
  • Most Popular Jobs: Financial Relationship Manager, Software Developer, Client Delivery Director, Banking Branch Manager
Capital One (#24)
  • Top Degrees: Computer Science, Economics, Business Administration, and Computer Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs: Software Developer, Business Analyst, Data Engineer
Citigroup (#25)
  • Top Degrees: Finance, Economics, Business Administration, and Computer Science
  • Most Popular Jobs: Investment Analyst, Software Developer, Systems Analyst

Aerospace and Defense

Engineering majors are some of the highest-paid graduates straight out of college, and many of them are going on to work at some of the nation's largest aerospace companies. These options may be a good choice for computer science and business graduates as well.

Lockheed Martin Corporation (#10)

Top employer for mechanical engineering and general engineering majors

  • Top Degrees: Mechanical Engineering, General Engineering, Computer Science, and Business Administration
  • Most Popular Jobs: Software Developer, Systems Engineer, Aerospace Engineer
Northrop Grumman (#13)

Top employer for electrical engineering majors

  • Top Degrees: Mechanical Engineering, General Engineering, Computer Science, and Computer Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs: Software Developer, Systems Engineer, Mechanical Engineer
Boeing (#23)
  • Top Degrees: Mechanical Engineering, General Engineering, Computer Science, and Business Administration
  • Most Popular Jobs: Software Developer, Civil Engineer, Systems Engineer

Retail

Retail trade boomed for the largest companies during the pandemic thanks to the quick adaptation to online shopping habits. It's no surprise that Walmart, the largest employer in the country, appears on this list. However, when talking specifically about bachelor's degree holders, Target was the second largest industry employer after Amazon, a behemoth both in retail and tech. Retail companies hired recent grads for positions across the board, from management to merchandising.

Target (#12)
  • Top Degrees: Business Administration, Marketing, Computer Science, and Psychology
  • Most Popular Jobs: Retail Store Supervisor, Software Developer, Sales Representative
Walmart/Sam's Club (#21)
  • Top Degrees: Business Administration, Computer Science, Economics, and Marketing
  • Most Popular Jobs: Category Marketing Specialist, Software Developer, Retail Sales Associate

Department of Defense

Despite difficulty recruiting during the pandemic, the Department of Defense remains one of the country's largest employers for bachelor's graduates. This may be due in part to the popularity of online colleges with service members, who often use them to advance their careers within the military.

U.S. Army (#15)
  • Top Degrees: Business Administration, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, General Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs: General Military, Sergeant, Food Service Supervisor
U.S. Air Force (#17)
  • Top Degrees: Business Administration, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, General Engineering
  • Most Popular Jobs: Sergeant, Trainee, Mechanical Engineer

Freelance and Contract Work During COVID-19

Mass layoffs and lockdowns led to a lot of downtime at home for many Americans. It also prompted many people to become their own bosses. Freelance work was the eighth largest employer for the classes of 2019-2021, likely aided by the shift to remote work. Recent graduates leveraged their skills and portfolios for positions in design, content, marketing, and even software development.

Freelance (#8)

Top Employer For: Design and Applied Arts, Communications and Media Studies majors

  • Top Degrees: Design and Applied Arts, Communications and Media Studies, Fine and Studio Arts, and Marketing
  • Most Popular Jobs: Graphic Designer, Writer, Social Media Strategist

Looking Ahead

Although the stock market, labor market, and economy have seen a turbulent year so far, hopefully, things will begin to stabilize going into the second half of 2022 and the first part of next year. While it's clear that there are a broad array of jobs for computer science and business majors, graduates across degree programs are finding unique opportunities and ways to use their skills in a rapidly-changing work environment.

So what does the future look like for recent graduates? Today's grads are branching out from old structures of jobs and finding fresh and innovative ways to apply their varied skill sets. In addition to a bachelor's degree, internships and other experiential opportunities may be more important than ever to thrive in lots of different roles and types of companies.

We can assume that jobs in tech, finance, and consulting will continue to reign. However, the growth of freelance work could signal that recent grads are more interested in setting their own parameters around their work life. It's hard to say whether or not this trend will continue for recent grads, but those who have spent the last few years working for themselves may find they prefer it over the return to the office currently underway.

Methodology

Our data comes from Emsi Burning Glass, an analytics company that maintains regularly updated employment data to provide insights into today's labor market. Employment data comes from publicly available sources, including resumes, job postings, and LinkedIn profiles. This data includes 564,624 graduates who earned their bachelor's degrees in 2019 through 2021. Employment data reflects where each college graduate was employed one year after earning their degree.

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