New graduates from LAS are increasingly successful at securing a first destination after college, according to the third annual release of a campus initiative to better understand young Illinois alumni. They continue to be in strong demand by employers.
These results are according to the Illini Success initiative, a campuswide effort that launched in 2014 to gather career-related information about recently graduated bachelor’s degree recipients. The latest report—released this week—includes data about 2016-17 graduates of Illinois based on survey responses, employer and college reports, and the LinkedIn social media network.
This year’s study reports that 86 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients in LAS had secured a first destination—employment, continuing education, or volunteer/service positions—within six months of graduation. Last year, the Illini Success report indicated that 83 percent of LAS graduates had secured first destinations. The figure was 77 percent two years ago.
“Clearly, we are thrilled by the implications of the latest Illini Success initiative,” said Feng Sheng Hu, Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS. “The vast majority of our young alumni are engaged in new, productive endeavors very soon after graduation. It speaks to the value of an LAS degree, and we expect the success of our alumni to continue to grow as their lives and careers develop.”
About 66 percent of LAS graduates reporting a first destination were employed. Healthcare, investment and finance, higher education, K-12 education, and the food and beverage industries were among the more frequent employment destinations by LAS graduates.
The average annual salary of new LAS graduates in the study is $53,226, up from $48,981 last year. New LAS graduates’ average salary is the third-highest on the Illinois campus, after graduates from the colleges of Engineering and Business.
Of 3,130 LAS bachelor’s degree recipients from 2016-17 (including those from the August 2016, December 2016, and May 2017 graduations), the latest report includes data for 2,021 graduates, or 65 percent of the total.
About 13 percent of new LAS graduates reported receiving signing bonus. Those bonuses averaged $6,892, compared to an average of $5,960 last year.
Of the 2016-2017 LAS graduates who continued on to graduate school, 56 percent are pursuing master’s degrees, 17 percent are pursuing professional degrees (law or medicine), and 15 percent are pursuing doctoral degrees. About 45 percent are continuing their education in Illinois.
About 87 percent of 2016-17 LAS graduates participated in one or more experiential learning opportunities at Illinois, up from 80 percent last year. Those opportunities included internships, assistantships, student teaching, service learning/volunteering, study abroad with internship or practicum component, clinical experience, co-op, or field experience with a practicum component. All of those who participated in an experiential learning opportunity ranked these experiences as “very helpful” or “helpful.” About 21 percent of LAS graduates who participated in these opportunities received a full-time job offer as a result.
Career data has important implications, from addressing the questions and concerns of prospective students to answering accreditors who are measuring institutional quality. Federal and state governments are asking for more information about the value of a college education, and making comparisons that can potentially be tied to funding of higher education institutions.
The Illini Success initiative was spearheaded by The Career Center, but it quickly gained support from units all across campus, including the Office of the Provost, the Division of Management Information, the Office of the Registrar, the Institutional Review Board Office, the Career Services Council, the Council of Undergraduate Deans, and all undergraduate colleges on campus.
Other items of note include:
- 20 percent of respondents in the survey self-identified as first-generation college students.
- 81 percent of communication majors reported their first destination as employed, the largest of any major. Second was English and creative writing at 78 percent.
- 48 percent of astronomy and physics majors reported their first destination as continuing education, the highest of any major. Second was psychology (41 percent) and then biological sciences (37 percent)
- Of the full-time employed graduates, those in mathematics and statistics reported the highest average salaries at $68,118. Next was astronomy and physics at $67,491.