In August 2010, AACN conducted an online survey of nursing schools offering entry-level baccalaureate and graduate programs in the U.S. to better assess the experience of new graduates seeking employment.
The survey found that the average job offer rate at the time of graduation was 65% for new nurses based on data collected from 402 schools. By comparison, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a national survey of 35,000 new college graduates across disciplines and found that only 19.7% of new graduates in 2009 had a job offer at graduation. In 2010, NACE reported that this job-offer rate improved to 24.4%, which is still markedly lower than the 65% identified for nursing school graduates.
Other key findings from the AACN survey include:
• The percentage of BSN graduates with job offers at graduation varied by region of the country, from 74% in the South, to 64% in the Midwest, to 59% in the Northeast, to 54% in the West.
• At 4 to 6 months after graduation, the average job offer rate climbed to 89% nationally for graduates of entry-level BSN and master’s nursing programs.
• The job offer rate for new nurses at the 4-6 month mark also varied by region from 94% in the South, to 89% in the Midwest, to 88% in the Northeast, to 78% in the West.
Despite high unemployment rates and job losses in other sectors of the economy, the U.S. healthcare workforce continues to expand. On November 5, 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that healthcare employers added 24,100 new jobs in October, which brings the total of new jobs created in this sector to 239,300 in the past 12 months. As the largest group of health professionals, RNs likely will be recruited to fill many of these new positions. In addition, the Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online Data Series, which tracks more than 1,000 online job boards across the U.S., recently reported that ads for healthcare positions increased by 26,800 listings in October 2010 to 543,100, thereby ending three consecutive months of declines. This increase was attributed primarily to an increase in advertised vacancies for registered nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. The Conference Board found that vacancies continue to outnumber healthcare job seekers by more than 2 to 1 nationwide.
The entire AACN Research Brief, including state-by-state data on job-offer rates for new nurse graduates, is available to download for free fromhttp://www.aacn.nche.edu/IDS/pdf/ResBriefEmpl.pdf.