The level of employers indicating they would hire a recent graduate this year was consistent with a survey in 2012, when 54 percent of U.S. employers indicated they would hire a recent graduate.
CareerBuilder, which sponsored the survey, said the past two years have been an improvement on 2010 and 2011, when 44 percent and 46 percent, respectively, indicated they had plans to hire a college graduate from those years.
This year information technology specialists are expected to be the most sought after among recent U.S. college graduates this year, the survey found.
In a survey of 2,000 hiring managers conducted by Harris Interactive from Feb. 11 to March 6, among information technology firms, 65 percent indicated they planned to hire recent graduates in 2013.
Among financial service employers, 63 percent indicated they were seeking recent college graduates this year, putting that second in second place among hiring groups.
Healthcare services were third with 56 percent indicating they were poised to hire this year's graduates.
Not surprisingly, information technology and financial service hiring managers were the most frequent to indicate they would be recruiting this year. Among these hiring groups, 37 percent in each sector indicated they would be recruiting workers prior to graduation, said CareerBuilder, which sponsored the study.
"New college graduates are facing a better employment situation this year, but the number of employers planning to recruit them are still trailing pre-recession estimates by more than 20 percentage points," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America in a statement.
"The market remains highly competitive. Those graduating with niche or technical skill sets will be in a better position to find more opportunities in higher-paying jobs," Rasmussen said.
The survey found that 27 percent of employers indicating they would hire this year's graduates were intending to pay more this year than they did in 2012.
Forty-nine percent indicated the starting salaries for recent graduates would fall between $30,000 and $50,000. Twenty-five percent indicated starting salaries would be below $30,000 and 25 percent indicated salaries would start at $50,000 or higher.
It can be said with 95 percent certainty that the results of the survey are accurate with a margin of error of plus and minus 2.1 percentage points, CareerBuilder said.