Research Topics

Work Trends Survey of Recent College Graduates

In 2011, the Heldrich Center conducted a nationally representative survey of 571 graduates from four-year colleges and universities from the classes of 2006 through 2010 to examine the difficulties young people encountered as they entered a volatile labor market. The survey yielded several notable findings. While graduates are satisfied with their decision to complete a four-year degree, a large percentage reported they are struggling to find full-time, permanent jobs with benefits that will lead to fulfilling careers. Fifty-three percent of the graduates in the survey are working full time, and 21 percent are attending graduate or professional school. Fourteen percent are either unemployed (7%) or employed part time and looking for full-time work (7%). The median salary of all employed recent graduates in their first full-time job after finishing school is $30,000. College graduates who obtained their first job during the recession in 2009-2010 suffered a 10% “penalty” in reduced starting salaries compared to those who entered the workforce in 2006 and 2007. The survey also showed that half of all recent graduates are working in jobs that did not require a B.A. or B.S. degree. Yet, 62% believe they will need even more formal education if they are to be successful in their chosen career. The report on the findings, Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy, was authored by Jessica Godofsky, Dr. Carl Van Horn, and Dr. Cliff Zukin. (Funded by private contributions to the Heldrich Center)

Education & Training
Work Trends Surveys
Funded By: 
private contributions to the Heldrich Center
college graduates