In a noun phrase, modifiers generally precede the noun they modify.
It is more common to say a brick wall, than a wall of bricks.
Now with compound adjectives, you need the hyphen to establish a unit modifier as M-W explains:
Compound adjectives are combinations of words that work together to modify a noun—technically, they work as unit modifiers. As unit modifiers, they are distinguished from other strings of adjectives that may also precede a noun.
Unit modifiers are mostly hyphenated. Hyphens not only make it easier for readers to grasp the relationship of the words but also aid in avoiding confusion. For example, the hyphen in
a call for a more-specialized curriculum
removes any ambiguity as to which the word more modifies.
Your question is why within the unit modifier the noun comes before the -ing form of the verb and not the other way round. If you think of compound nouns such as:
- bird-watching (also spelt birdwatching or bird watching)
- bee-keeping (same variants available)
you see that the object of the verb used here in its -ing form comes first, although in a SVO simple sentence, the standard word order would be respected:
I am watching birds.
This is simply how English works. This is most probably why we say
The hyphen immediately helps us identify the unit modifier degree-granting which naturally precedes the noun it modifies. Within the unit modifier, degree must precede the word it modifies: it is not just any kind of granting, it is a degree-granting (that is, granting of degrees).
I found an interesting article on Thought.co about premodification which says:
As noted by Douglas Biber et. al. in Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English,2002
Premodifiers are condensed structures. They use fewer words than postmodifiers to convey roughly the same information. Most adjectival and participial premodifiers can be rephrased as a longer, postmodifying relative clause.