CDC data shows salary, job trends

Nov. 7, 2011, 2:04 a.m.

Data collected by the Career Development Center (CDC) showed that students earning bachelor’s degrees in 2011 from the School of Humanities and Sciences received an average starting salary of $54,951, while School of Engineering graduates received $72,148 on average.

Salaries on the survey–which includes responses from about 30 percent of graduates, according to CDC Director Lance Choy–ranged from $3,000 to $165,000 for humanities and sciences grads and from $15,000 to $120,000 for engineering students.

The survey also collected statistics on job-search timeframes for students graduating between 2006 and 2009. About 70 percent of bachelors students in 2009 were able to find a job within four months of searching, compared to about 80 percent in 2006. Meanwhile, the percentage of students needing 10 or more months to find a job rose from 3 to 9 percent.

Choy cited market demand and the recruiting process itself as the main determinants of job-search success.

“Some majors seem to be more popular, more in demand right now,” he said, citing computer science as an example.

“But something you have to be careful about is the nature of employer recruiting,” he continued. “Some employers are very structured in their programming. They know they’re going to hire X number of students. They’ll come in, do their hiring in the fall. Other employers, for example, civil engineering companies, they do just-in-time hiring when they get a project.”

He showcased the financial and consulting sectors, whose highly structured recruiting programs mean some economics and management science and engineering students tend to find jobs early. However, he did see that the recruiting process depends as much on the students as it does on the job market.

“Just remember in terms of who gets jobs the easiest, it really depends on what they’re pursuing,” he said.

According to Beverley Principal, student affairs officer at the CDC, companies hiring the most Stanford grads this year were Google, Teach for America, McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company.

Choy also estimated that 30 to 35 percent of Stanford students who earn bachelor’s degrees pursue graduate degrees, which he called a “much higher rate” than those at peer institutions.

Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs in Engineering and professor of electrical engineering Brad Osgood also cited the co-term program as a “popular” option.

Career centers at peer institutions also collected data on their graduates. Harvard, Yale, Princeton and UC-Berkeley had 21, 19, 20 and 23 percent of bachelors students intending on attending graduate school, respectively.

Those schools also collected data on the number of students who intended to pursue employment after graduation, with the numbers at 62, 75, 72 and 56 percent respectively. Harvard’s data was collected for the class of 2011, Princeton’s and UC-Berkeley’s for the class of 2010 and Yale’s for the class of 2010 one year after graduation.

Princeton and UC-Berkeley also published response rates at 98 and 39 percent.

As for Stanford students, both Choy and Osgood said that most Stanford students tend to stay in the area after graduation.

“For engineering students, I think one of the things that brought them to Stanford is Silicon Valley,” Osgood said.

Choy named the Bay Area as the “biggest employer” of Stanford students, followed by southern California, New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Across graduates and industries, Choy noted that 2011 was a comparatively better year for college grads than those in the recent past.

“In a short-term trend, the market’s rebounding,” he said. “There’s more hiring in a lot of areas that were depressed. All the areas are rebounding and doing much better than two years ago. Last year, there was a strong surge in the number of job postings in all areas; this year it’s looking fairly decent.”

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