Image: iStockphoto/RyanKing999

Recent college graduates are among the hardest hit by the pandemic-related recession with 68% of US entry-level job openings gone since last year as employers nationwide contend with hiring freezes and layoffs, according to new Glassdoor Economic Research.

“The class of 2020 began their senior year amid a bustling job market, but the impact of COVID-19 has triggered one of the worst job markets in a generation, which recent graduates now must face,” Glassdoor Senior Economic Research Analyst Amanda Stansell wrote in a blog post. “Now, confronting this significant drop in the number of open jobs, new grads are commencing their job searches in a profoundly different economic environment than could have been imagined a few months ago.”

However, even though the backdrop of their job hunt has changed dramatically, Glassdoor’s data illustrates the ambition and tenacity recent graduates have as they continue to pursue high-paying roles at major tech companies, she said.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

The data released Monday also reveals the jobs, companies, and cities where new graduates are applying to work.

“With seven of the top 10 companies on this list in the tech industry, it’s clear that tech employers haven’t lost their appeal among new graduates amid a shaky job market,” Stansell observed.

Besides the relatively new social media company, TikTok, new grad job seekers also aspire to work at non-tech companies like Goldman Sachs, EY, and Randstad, the new Glassdoor research revealed.

Software engineer applications accounted for 8% of all job applications from new grads in May, making it the most popular role to apply to for new grads. “This is not surprising given its high salary of over $94,000 for workers fresh out of college,” Stansell said. But there are several other high paying roles attracting new grads in May, including data scientist and software developer.

However, money is not the only factor driving applications, she noted. New college grads are also applying to some lower paying jobs that have shown resilience during the COVID-19 crisis and often allow remote work options. For example, administrative assistant and sales representative were two of the jobs in the top 10 roles new grads were applying to in May, she said.

“Even within industries that have seen job declines in recent months, there are some bright spots of employers still hiring,” Stansell noted. “For example, Amazon has been hiring intensively for warehouse and delivery roles in response to booming e-commerce during the pandemic and is hiring for many corporate roles as well.”

Several employers are also having hiring surges right now, including Microsoft, Apple, and Google, she added.

Top 5 companies new grads are applying to:

  1. Amazon
  2. Microsoft
  3. The Goldman Sachs Group
  4. Apple
  5. TikTok

Top 5 jobs attracting new grads:

  1. Software Engineer ($94,111 median annual base salary)
  2. Data Analyst ($60,508)
  3. Business Analyst ($65,267)
  4. Data Scientist ($100,793)
  5. Administrative Assistant ($34,375)

Top 5 cities where new grads are applying to:

  1. New York City, NY
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Boston, MA

Glassdoor said it used a large sample of real-world job applications started on the site between May 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020, by users likely to be recent college graduates. The site defines new graduates as those with a bachelor’s degree born in 1994 or later (aged 26 or younger).

The data was then used to show which employers, metros, and occupations new graduate job seekers are applying to most frequently in the US during the COVID-19 crisis. Similarly, to estimate pay for new grads, Glassdoor examined anonymous salary reports left on the site between May 1, 2019, and April 30, 2020, by US-based employees aged 26 or younger with a bachelor’s degree.