A study of the early career paths of University of Illinois graduates reveals strong and steady success among new alumni from the College of LAS.
About 89 percent of new LAS alumni are securing a first destination soon after graduation, according to the Illini Success initiative, a university-wide effort to better understand the early career paths of new alumni. First destinations include employment, continuing education, or volunteer/service positions.
Meanwhile, starting salaries for those finding jobs has remained consistent, at $54,949.
The numbers released in the most recent report reflect LAS undergraduates who graduated during the August 2018, December 2018, and May 2019 graduations. Through the use of direct surveys, employer and college reports, the National Student Clearinghouse, and LinkedIn, the U of I was able to gather data on some 3,258 LAS alumni who graduated in 2018-19—about 72 percent of the total.
Breaking down the 89 percent figure further, 50 percent of new LAS alumni were employed within six months of graduation, and 39 percent were pursuing continuing education. Less than one percent were pursuing volunteer and service opportunities.
The average full-time salary for new LAS alumni is third amongst all colleges on campus, behind Gies Business and Grainger Engineering. The average signing bonus of new LAS alumni was $5,000, which is tied with Gies Business for second amongst all colleges, behind Grainger Engineering.
Historically, the percentage of graduates securing a first destination within six months of graduation stood at 87 percent in 2017-18; 86 percent in 2016-17; and 83 percent in 2015-16. The average salaries of those who found jobs within six months were $55,325 in 2017-18; $53,226 in 2016-17; and $48,981 in 2015-16.
“Our graduates choose a wide variety of career paths after graduation, and this year’s report indicates that they are finding growing opportunities within the College of LAS to prepare for their future,” said Feng Sheng Hu, the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS.
Campuswide, recent graduates from the University of Illinois found jobs, pursued more education, or began a volunteer program at record rates.
About 75 percent of Illinois residents stay in the state for a job or graduate school, and about 66 percent of all graduates find their first destination in Illinois. The remaining 33 percent found first destinations across 46 other U.S. states and 39 countries.
Ninety percent of students reported participating in an experiential learning opportunity (internship, research project, study abroad, service learning, clinical programs, etc.), and 35 percent of those experiences resulted directly in a full-time job offer.
“The name Illini Success really says it all,” Chancellor Robert J. Jones said. “Once again, we are demonstrating our ability to set up our students for enormous success.”
The Illini Success initiative was spearheaded by The Career Center, but it receives support from units all across campus. The career data has important implications, from addressing the questions and concerns of prospective students to answering accreditors who are measuring institutional quality.
Other items of note from the LAS numbers include:
- The average starting salary of new alumni grew significantly during the past year for several LAS units, including mathematics and statistics, which grew from $70,342 in 2017-18 to $77,523 in 2018-19; English and creative writing, which grew from $35,688 to $44,565; and astronomy and physics, which grew from $61,313 to $71,004.
- Communication alumni had the highest rate of employment in LAS within six months of graduation, at 75 percent.
- Psychology alumni had the highest rates of pursuing continuing education in LAS, at 56 percent.