Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa

3. Making It in the Labor Market

  • The 2009 on-time graduates were contacted in 2011. While 93% had some form of employment, only 77% had full-time jobs paying over $20,000 a year, and 26% were making more than $40,000. Results varied by major with business, science, math, and engineering students more likely to be employed. Institutional selectivity, gender, race/ethnicity, and parental education were not associated with employment. Parental education is, however, a strong determinant of who does go to college. While business majors had a high likelihood of employment, engineering and computer science majors were the high earners. Females earned less primarily because they were more likely to choose fields of study with lower earnings.
  • The study looked at how students found their jobs. College career centers were responsible for 17%, Internships and volunteer work scored 25%, family and friends scored 20%, and formal means like job advertisements came in at 38%. They also found that employers are less likely to lean on college transcripts than in the past. Rather they prefer more observable indicators like work and internship experience. As far as the students who scored high on the CLA tests, they were more likely to be employed, and more likely to be satisfied with their job.
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