The class of 2016 is making more money right out of college than any other class has in the past four years, due in part to more students working at large firms in the tech and health care industries.
As of Sept. 9, almost 91 percent of the class of 2016 has responded to the Office of Career Strategy’s First Destination Survey, which is sent each year to collect information on students’ permanent plans after graduation. For the class of 2016, 43.8 percent of respondents said they earn $70,000 per year or more and 66.5 percent said they earn $50,000 per year or more, compared with 26.3 percent and 47.8 percent respectively for the class of 2013. The first destination survey is still open.
OCS Director Jeanine Dames said that as the Baby Boomer generation ages, more jobs are opening up in the health care field, while OCS’s increased relationships in tech have created more opportunities for students. This year, 12.4 percent of graduated seniors are working in the tech industry and 9.0 percent in the healthcare industry, compared with 10.0 percent and 6.2 percent for the class of 2015.
“I do think more students are taking [computer science] classes, which is enhancing their skills in this area,” Dames said. “At the same time, OCS has focused on building our employer relationships in this area and that is starting to yield strong results.”
She added that many tech employers value hiring graduates from a liberal arts college like Yale because of the skills they can offer in marketing, product development and design.
Yale’s Computer Science Department has grown in recent years, which could have led to a greater portion of the senior class seeking out jobs in tech. Yale awarded 66 bachelor’s degrees in computer science last academic year, more than three times as many as in the 2012–13 academic year.
Still, Param Sidhu ’17, who worked for a venture capital firm in Palo Alto last summer, said he thought it would be better for the tech landscape if Yale students worked for startups rather than larger firms. He highlighted the program “Start @ a Startup” -— a conference where students can interview with startups — as particularly beneficial to the tech world, since it funnels accomplished students to smaller firms.
“I think it’s a part of the herding behavior that we see with people going into finance and consulting,” Sidhu said. “Tech is starting to get to that level.
Steven Zucker, a computer science and biomedical engineering professor, said there is a huge market for recent computer science graduates, adding that the number of students in his classes has increased by about a factor of three over the past few years.
Another industry trending upward is law and legal services, which has almost doubled in popularity among Yale graduates since last year. According to the survey data, 5.8 percent of the class of 2016 works in the sector, compared with 3.2 percent for the class of 2015.
Diana Rosen ’16, a former opinion editor for the News, took a job after graduation as a paralegal at Federal Defenders of New York, a nonprofit organization. She said her job is practical for people who are considering law school but are not sure they want to attend.
Dames said years of experience working in law are becoming increasingly valuable in the law school admissions process, which has recently attracted more Yale students. She noted that attendance at Harvard Law School’s annual information session at Yale has climbed from 23 and 35 attendees in 2014 and 2015, to 75 attendees in 2016.
“The whole industry is slowly coming back,” Dames said, noting that the law sector was particularly affected by the economic downturn of the late 2000s. “There was a time when I think students shied away from law school, because the jobs they expected maybe weren’t there.”
Nearly 85 percent of respondents had confirmed plans for after graduation. About two-thirds of the seniors class said they were working, while 16.6 percent said they were attending graduate school, the lowest percentage since OCS began collecting data in 2013.
Though the class of 2016 has now scattered across the globe, most of them do not live far from one another: 72.9 percent of graduates in the U.S. live in either New York, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts or Washington, D.C. These states have been the top locations for recent Yale graduates since OCS started collecting survey data since at least 2013.