Employer Partner Survey Reveals Hiring Insights

May 9, 2024
9 min read

In an online survey conducted in July 2023, DeVry University polled more than 100 human resources professionals to gather insights on several topics related to the current state of the recruiting environment. DeVry asked them to weigh in on issues related to job candidates and the skills they look for in entry-level candidates. They also sought opinions of DeVry University students and DeVry graduates as candidates and how the University can best support them as employer partners. Finally, they were asked to indicate their preferences regarding efforts to engage with students and alumni in their talent acquisition efforts.

Survey participants represented employer organizations ranging from less than 1,000 to over 25,000 employees, recruiting for roles in business, tech or health technology. The respondents were professionals in human resources and talent acquisition (69%), hiring managers (16%) and the remaining were others in senior leadership roles outside of the HR office.

Based on the survey findings, trends in the current hiring environment include:


  •  It’s taking longer to recruit: Despite the availability of qualified candidates, 63% of employers surveyed agree or strongly agree the amount of time to hire new talent has increased in the last year.  

  • Remote-work opportunities are decreasing: More than a third (36%) indicated their organizations have fewer remote employment opportunities than they had a year ago.

  • Soft skills are highly valued: Even though hiring for technology-related positions remains high and technical skills are important; employers place a high value on soft skills.  

  • Engagement is key: Employers express interest in engagement with DeVry students and alumni and participating in events, and those who do participate in events like Virtual Career Fairs indicate a high level of satisfaction.  

Candidate-Related Insights

More than half of responding employers said they were extremely or very willing to offer feedback on candidate-related topics. What did they have to say about the skills they value, the types of positions they need to recruit for and how the candidates stack up?  

Soft skills are highly valued by most employers

While technical skills were mentioned and their importance is certainly not discounted, employers say they are seeking candidates with the ability to learn. Nearly all responding employers believe that professional skills, such as work ethic, emotional intelligence, willingness to learn, coachability and accountability are very important for candidates to have.  Professional skills like time management, collaboration and communication were ranked as very important by an extremely high percentage of employers.

Experience is important, even at entry-level

Responding employers indicated a preference for entry-level candidates with at least six months of work experience. This finding highlights the critical role of hands-on learning opportunities, such as internships, pre-internships and apprenticeships, enabling career seekers to acquire real-world workplace experience either before their employment or through work-based learning programs once hired.

DeVry and its graduates are well-regarded by a majority of employers

A strong majority of employers (83%) give DeVry high marks overall, coalescing around the opinion that DeVry grads have the skills to succeed in the workplace, indicating satisfaction with graduates’ capabilities and the education they’ve received. They believe DeVry offers a relevant curriculum and tries to prepare students for jobs in the current marketplace. Some employers cited the successful employment of DeVry grads across medical administration and coding, engineering and technical careers.  

When employers were asked to agree or disagree with the statement, “DeVry is a respected institution for educating 21st century talent,” 83% agreed or strongly agreed. In elaborating on their responses, employers hiring for business, technology and health information roles backed up their responses with favorable comments:

  • “Every DeVry student we’ve hired has become a very successful auditor within our organization and adapts quickly in applying their accounting knowledge within our organization.” 

  • “The inclusion of modern technology into the education industry has made DeVry stand out in terms of higher education.” 

  • “DeVry has a great reputation for producing quality candidates for us, particularly in the medical admin and billing and coding space.”

  • “DeVry has been providing online education in our ever-evolving digital world and has been doing it before the COVID-19 pandemic. The students who we have worked with have exceeded expectations in the roles that they were in. We are thrilled and lucky to have the opportunity to work with DeVry Students!”

  • “DeVry is located in several states that we hire from. They teach the core skills we are looking for in engineers.” 

Related Content

Partnership-Related Insights

Employers weighed in on a variety of topics related to their partnerships with DeVry and other educational institutions, and how these relationships have influenced the methods and approaches they use to connect with candidates. The survey also measured their interest in various types of opportunities to engage with students and alumni.

Recruiting talent for entry-level positions: What works?

Responding employers tell us a variety of tactics have worked well for them in their efforts to engage with entry-level candidates. Among them, three particular engagement methods stand out:

  1. Job Fairs 

    Employers confirmed that job fairs are a cost-efficient way to connect with entry-level talent. Nearly 60% of responding employers indicated they were either very interested or extremely interested in participating in a Virtual Career Fair. On average, DeVry’s Virtual Career Fairs yield more than 1,400 employer registrations spanning geographic regions of the United States and academic programs at DeVry and its Keller Graduate School of Management. Employers engage with a diverse group of students and alumni in real time, using chat or video conferencing technology, without leaving their offices. Employers who participated in a DeVry Virtual Career Fair during the previous 12 months were largely satisfied with their experience.

  2. Employer information sessions

    For many employers, hosting information sessions can be a highly effective tool in their awareness-building strategy. This is another tactic met with enthusiastic approval by more than half the responding employers. To try and make information sessions as effective as they can be, employers should try to focus on three key areas:

    1. Information, to give prospective candidates a better understanding of the employer’s culture and positions available.

    2. Persuasion, to convince candidates that their opportunities represent a better career move than taking a similar job elsewhere; and relationships.

    3. Relationships, kindling the flames of potential personal connections that can be a significant draw for the right candidates.  

  3. Personal relationships with employer relations advisors


    Responding employers indicated a desire to actively collaborate with DeVry and to connect with students and alumni through various events. Nearly half of the responding employers expressed interest in speaking with employer relations advisors about their talent acquisition needs. 

You Need Talent. DeVryWorks and Our Career Services Team Can Help

You need to hire faster, build stronger teams and put the right talent to work at the right time to meet organizational goals. We understand, and we’re ready to help. DeVryWorks and our Career Services team can help you connect with career-ready candidates for entry and mid-level positions. We do it by leveraging the breadth and diversity of DeVry University’s nationwide student and alumni network. What sets DeVry apart? Our academic schedule allows students to complete their degree program on their own schedule. This also provides employers with access to a continuously growing and evolving pool of entry-level talent.

At DeVry and our Keller Graduate School of Management, more than 40 academic programs and 85 graduate and undergraduate specializations prepare adult learners with hands-on skills they can apply to roles in business, accounting, cyber security networking and programming, information technology, healthcare and engineering technology and other occupational areas.

Our employer relations advisors are ready to help you meet your talent acquisition needs. Contact us to learn more.