UCS conducts a variety of surveys to gather data that is helpful to gain perspectives on student and alumni career experiences. The results are used to obtain current information on students’ internship and post-graduation experiences, to identify job market and hiring patterns, and assess career outcomes and services.
Selected results of two of our major surveys are summarized below. The UCS Graduation Survey and the Internship Search Survey.
UCS Graduation Survey
Annually distributed at time of graduation to undergraduate and graduate students, there are three primary sections: 1) “First Destination” results which track the post-graduation career plans of graduating students; 2) data on the nature of the students’ job search process, and 3) descriptions of academic and career preparation while at NU.
- Summary Highlights
- Career Status at the Time of Graduation for Undergraduates
- The Job Search Process
- Career Preparation and Planning
- Graphic Distribution
- Graduate School Plans
First destination data describes the specific career plans of graduates immediately following graduation. Key findings for Class of 2011
- The proportion of all graduates indicating full-time employment at the time of graduation has rebounded to 39%, the highest percentage since 2007.
- The mean starting salary for 2011 undergraduates was $47,547, lower than the 2008 and 2010 salaries of $48,094 and $49,368, respectively. However it was higher than the 2009 mean salary of $42,853. Doctoral students had a sharp decrease in mean salary since last year, $61,749 from $78,370 in 2010, and Master’s degree graduates experienced roughly the same mean salary since 2010 at $69,837.
- The rate of unemployment rose slightly from 17.4% in 2010 to 17.9% in 2011. Undergraduate unemployment rates are at 18.7%, whereas Graduate students are currently at 16.6%.
- The full-time employment rate for Bachelor’s degree recipients has risen considerably since 2009 (32.5%) and has also increased slightly since 2010 (38.8%), to 40.3%. Master’s and Doctoral students also experienced an increase from 44.3% in 2010 to 47% in 2011.
- Overall, undergraduates in 2011 are indicating plans to continue their education immediately after graduation at slightly higher rates than 2010, 19.5% from 19%. The Bienen School of Music had the greatest number of students planning to continue their education (29.5%), followed by WCAS (23%).
Undergraduate Career Status After Graduation
|Career Status at Graduation||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%|
|Full-Time Employment or Offer Pending||594||42.0||611||32.5||674||38.8||546||40.3|
|Temporary or Contract Job||133||5.9||87||4.6||113||4.4||128||5.4|
Those graduates who were actively job-searching were surveyed on the nature of their job search. The graduates engaged in both on and off-campus search methods and many were successful.
- The survey suggests that the employment search process is becoming shorter than seen in 2010. The proportion of students indicating that their search was 2 months or less has increased from 2010, which means that more students are finding employment at faster rates than seen in 2010.
- 22.2% of job-searching respondents received interviews with six or more employers, a 1.3% increase from last year.
- The search methods used most frequently by respondents to gain employment were applying directly to the employer, NU job listings, and Internet sites.
- Of the Northwestern-specific search methods, NU job listings are most utilized, followed by career fairs, on-campus recruiting, and career services.
- University Career Services was used by 51.8% of undergraduate respondents, placing it the top half of the pack for search methods listed.
- Students who utilized the different career resources offered by Northwestern were significantly more likely to have employment upon graduation than students who used the career services less frequently. Likewise, these students earned significantly higher salaries on average.
Undergraduates’ Employment by Job Category
The results of graduates’ co-curricular experiences show not only a high level of involvement but also a positive effect on the long-term goals and career preparedness.
- The activities in which respondents sustained the highest rate of participation continue to be student activities and organizations, part-time employment, community service and volunteering, and summer jobs. Over 60% of undergraduates completed at least one internship, and approximately 40% participated in two or more quarters of internship experience.
Starting Salaries by Degree Type and Year
All Respondents' Long-Term Career Interest
|Business, Finance, Mgmt, Sales, etc.||280||15.6||318||12.9||340||14.2||271||13.4|
|Art, Performance, Music||195||10.9||237||9.6||227||9.5||170||8.4|
|Communication, Journalism, Media||202||11.3||244||9.9||245||10.3||216||10.7|
|Technology or Engineering||132||7.4||200||8.1||186||7.8||193||9.5|
In addition to salary, the survey also asked Northwestern graduates where they would be residing next fall. While most graduates indicated that they would stay in the United States, eight percent reported an international location. Figure 2 presents graduates’ geographic distribution (within the U.S. and internationally) for those students who clearly indicated a location for next fall’s residency.
Geographic Distribution of Graduates Reporting Next Year’s Location
Undergraduates' Career Direction Decision Time, 2011
|When Career Direction Decided|
|Prior to Freshman year||342||26.2|
|During Freshman year||146||11.2|
|During Sophomore year||245||18.8|
|During Junior year||292||22.4|
|During Senior year||278||21.3|
Undergraduates Highest Degree Aspiration by Gender, 2011
|MA or MS||97||17.3||141||18.9|
|MBA or equivalent||156||27.8||123||16.5|
Each Spring the Internship Team at UCS introduces its annual Internship Search Survey across campus to gather information from students participating in internships. Questions about how students find internships and what internships are secured help to inform UCS staff and all others in the NU community interested in learning more about this topic.