Job Outlook for '08 Grads: Fewer Offers, Higher Pay

Margaret Brennan,|CNBC Reporter

For those graduating college this year, getting a job will be a little harder than last year—but will likely pay more.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 12 percent of companies surveyed are cutting back on college hiring, though salaries are 3 percent to 7 percent higher.

Scary Job Market for Grads

The job market weakness is concentrated to Wall Street, retail, marketing, autos and real estate.

While MonsterTrak reports companies are hiring 17 percent fewer college grads for entry level positions, which sectors are hot? The answer: sales, information technology, accounting and administration. (See more in video at left.)

Challenger, Gray & Christmas says the education, energy and healthcare industries are still holding on—in part because of demographics.

But if Wall Street or real estate is your area of interest you'd better be ready to sell yourself.

One factor that's containing weakness in the new grad job market: With higher-salaried baby boomers leaving the workforce, companies are in need of lower-salaried, younger workers.

But job offers may be delayed or scaled back if the economy doesn't pick up in the second half of the year.

JP Morgan Chase canceled half of the 250 job offers extended to students by Bear Stearns.

Many recruiters are now trying to spend less on the process.

MIT Sloan School of Management says it is seeing a less than 1 percent decrease in recruiting. But recruiting tends to lag the economy, it could be the class of 2009 that experiences the impact of the downturn.