UCS aims to gather data that is helpful to our own services, for employers looking to hire from NU and students interested in their peers' success. Below is information from two major surveys: The UCS Graduation Survey (First Destination Survey) and the Internship Search Survey.
UCS First Destination Survey
Each year Northwestern University Career Services surveys students at the time of graduation to gather data on their employment patterns and post-college career plans. The following webpage will provide results from the Class of 2010.
In 2010, a total of 2,388 graduates completed the survey, with a response rate of 78.2% for undergraduates, 15.8% for Master’s students, and 20.8% for Doctoral students.
Presented here are key findings from the 2010 survey, with selected comparisons with previous years. Included in the links below is information on first destination, salary patterns, geographic distribution, and graduate school plans.
- Summary Highlights
- Career Status at the Time of Graduation for all Degree Levels
- Undergraduate Employment by Job Category
- Salary Outcomes
- Graphic Distribution
- Graduate School Plans
First destination data describes the specific career plans of graduates immediately following graduation.
- The proportion of all graduates indicating full-time employment after graduation has rebounded a bit to 35.8%, a greater than four percentage point increase over 2009. That said, this year’s rate has still not recovered to the full-time employment rates observed in 2007 or 2008 (38.4 and 37.8, respectively). Coincident with decreased rates of unemployment are slight declines in the proportion of students continuing their education or engaging in post-graduate internships and/or fellowships.
- The mean starting salary for 2010 undergraduates was $49,368, higher than the 2008 and 2009 mean salaries of $48,094 and $42,853, respectively. Graduate students experienced similar increases in salary. Doctoral students had an $18,000 increase in mean salary since last year, and Master’s degree graduates experienced a nearly $10,000 increase over last year’s mean salary.
- The rate of unemployment fell all degree types, with the largest difference being among graduates who fell to 17.4 percent 2010, down from 22.6% in 2009 (although still not at 2008’s level of 14.1%). Master’s students have the highest level of unemployment (20.7%), as was the case in 2007 through 2009.
- The full-time employment rate for bachelor’s degree recipients has risen considerably since 2009, to 38.8% (up from 32.5%). Master’s and Doctoral students enjoy comparable rates of full time employment (or full-time offer pending) of around 44% (slightly higher for Master’s graduates).
- In contrast to hypotheses made in the wake of 2009’s steep involuntary unemployment rates, there has been little change (moderate decrease) in undergraduates’ continuing their education as an alternative to winning full-time job offers. Service-oriented programs have remained similarly stable (also with a moderate decrease). There are slight increases in undergraduates reporting temporary/contract jobs or part-time employment post-graduation.
- Undergraduate schools with the highest employment rates include the McCormick School of Engineering and Sciences (47.2%), SESP (41.3%), and WCAS (40.1%). The Medill School of Journalism and Communications had the highest rates of involuntary unemployment, both among undergraduates and graduates. The mean salaries for Medill and Communication graduate students also experienced the greatest decreases ($13,123 and $11,574).
- Undergraduates from the School of Education and Social Policy had a decrease in employment rates from for the second consecutive year, down from 50.8% in 2008 and 45.5% in 2009 to 41.3% in 2010. This number is still strong compared to 31% in 2006. Their salaries were fairly comparable to last year (a 6.7% increase overall for undergraduates).
- Undergraduates from Medill continue to experience an especially difficult employment market - with a 25.6% unemployment rate, down slightly from 26% unemployment last year. However, mean starting salary for undergraduates who do obtain employment is up 26.9% over 2009, the first increase in salary since 2007.
- Overall, fewer undergraduates in 2009 are indicating plans to continue their education immediately after graduation when compared to 2009 (2010, 19.0%, 2009, 19.7%). The Bienen School of Music had the greatest number of students planning to continue their educations at over one-third (37.0%), followed by MEAS (27.6%).
As shown in Table 1, the future direction and career status for graduates has recovered from 2009 levels. There was an increase in the full-time employment rate compared to 2009, though pending offers remained constant. The unemployment rate was significantly lower than last year (17.4% in 2010, 21.7% in 2009) though it is still not at the 2007 to 2008 levels. The percentage of graduates continuing their education directly after graduating has remained relatively stable from 17.4% to 16.2% over the past five years. Similar to last year, there is a significant number of students pursuing a post-graduate internship or fellowship.
Table 1 All Respondents’ Career Status After Graduation
|Career Status at Graduation||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%|
|Full Time Employment||866||38.4||721||37.8||801||31.1||854||35.8|
|Full Time Offer Pending||116||4.9||132||6.9||118||4.6||109||4.6|
|Post Grad: Intern/Fellowship||182||8.1||148||7.8||219||8.5||189||7.9|
|Temporary or Contract||133||5.9||87||4.6||113||4.4||128||5.4|
|Employed Part Time||81||3.6||70||3.7||90||3.5||92||3.9|
|Military Service Full Time8||8||0.3||10||0.5||7||0.3||6||0.3|
On the 2010 survey, respondents who were employed or had accepted a position were asked to name their job titles and employers. An additional question asked respondents to choose from a list of 9 long-term career interest categories, including finance, public administration, computer science, social services, healthcare, engineering, marketing, communications, and other functional categories.
In figure 1 we see the distribution of undergraduate employment categories. The largest segment of this population is employed in business, consulting, finance, management and sales (33%). Communication, journalism, and media, was the second largest segment (12%), followed by government, public policy, and politics; law, and medicine, all at 7%.
Figure 1. Undergraduates’ Employment by Job Category
Table 2 shows the distribution of salary levels by type of degree. As expected, graduate students reported higher salaries than undergraduates. From 2008 to 2009, mean salaries decreased by approximately 11% for undergraduates and 11.5% for doctoral level students. For Master’s level students, the mean salary in 2009 remained very stable compared to 2008. In 2010, all degrees types experienced salary level increases that surpassed the 2008 averages.
Table 2. Starting Salaries by Degree Type and Year
Table 3 indicates the variance in mean starting salaries across the different employment categories. Technology and Engineering careers emerged as the highest paying compared with jobs in other industries, consistent with the 2009 reports. All industries except healthcare experienced an increase salaries to varying degrees from minor changes in Research/Academia (0.1%) to more dramatic changes in Community, Public and Social Services (108.9%), and Arts, Performance, and Music (171.5%).
Table 3. Undergraduates’ Mean Starting Salaries - Change from 2009
|Job Title Category||2009||2010|
|N||Mean||N||Mean||Percent Change||Change in Mean Salary|
|Business, Consulting, Fin. Mgmt, Sales, etc.||
|Technology or Engineering||55||$54,868||33||$63,082||15.0%||$8,214|
Government, Public Policy, Politics
|Arts, Performance, Music||5||$17,800||9||$48,333||171.5%||$30,533|
|Communication, Journalism, Media||27||$26,199||54||$36,152||38.0%||$9,953|
|Community, Public or Social Service||17||$21,007||20||$43,883||108.9%||$22,876|
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.
Figure 2. Geographic Distribution of Graduates Reporting Next Year’s Location
Tables 4 and 5 present results on degree candidates who will be attending graduate school during the next academic year. The percentage of students indicating postgraduate educational plans has increased slightly since 2007. Educational aspirations beyond a bachelor’s degree are strong, indicating that students are taking more time after their undergraduate experience before applying to graduate school. More students reported pursuing MA or MS degrees, while the number of graduates
Table 4. Respondents’ Planning to Attend Graduate or Professional School
Table 5. Percentage of Undergraduates Planning to Attend Graduate or Professional School Next Year by Degree Pursuing
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.