Yale Daily News

A recent report from the Office of Career Strategy reveals high salaries, widespread job satisfaction and a declining desire to pursue further education among Yale College’s class of 2015.

Every year since 2017, OCS has surveyed alumni four years after graduation to assess how they are performing professionally after they graduated. Using the data collection standards set out by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the report had a total knowledge rate of 72.2 percent. Notably, the report showed a 19 percent increase in average salary four years after graduation as compared to the class before it — climbing from the class of 2014’s $86,933 to $103,333.

Director of the OCS Jeanine Dames said that the increase in average salary could be due to a better economy than in years past.

“We use this data a lot to arm ourselves with where students’ interests are and to make sure we’re still staying really strong with the employers that we know students want to go to too,” Dames said.

Dames also noted that fewer graduates are pursuing further education. In the class of 2015, 42.6 percent of alumni are pursuing or has completed education beyond their undergraduate degree, which is two percentage points lower than the class of 2014 and 13 percentage points lower than the class of 2013.

The office compares the data to its First Destination Survey for Yale College, a report that details where students end up six months after graduation. Since then, it has produced an annual report presenting the range of post-graduate activities pursued by Yale College students. The comparison of the two reports provides data regarding how careers and preferences change in the span of four years.

Six months after the class of 2015 graduated, the First Destination Survey reported that 86.5 percent of respondents planned to reside in the United States. Of that group, almost three-quarters, 74.4 percent, planned to reside in Washington, D.C. or one of four states — New York, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Five years later, there was a 33 percent increase in alumni residing in California, whereas there was a 49 percent decrease in alumni residing in Connecticut. According to Dames, this decrease is often the result of students working around Yale immediately after graduation, before eventually moving away.

The top industries six months out of college were financial services, education and technology — with 19.1 percent, 15.8 percent and 10 percent of the class entering those fields, respectively. Four years after graduation, these remain the top three industries with slight differences in percentage — 18.6 percent in technology, 16 percent in financial services and 13.3 percent in education.

Despite the increase in the technology industry, only around four percent of graduates are programmers, according to Dames. The other graduates working in the industry work in other aspects such as marketing or finance, Dames said.

OCS uses the data gathered from these services to develop new initiatives at Yale, Dames said. For example, the increase in jobs in the technology industry has shown them the rising interest in STEM. According to Dames, OCS developed STEM-connect 18 months ago, a new initiative aimed at helping students interested in a STEM-related career.

“It pulls together resources, helps navigate Yale’s resources around STEM, employer contacts, job opportunities, internships, all of that,” Dames said. “We tracked that with the growth of students interested in computer science here knowing that that was probably going to result in more people interested in career paths in that area.”

In terms of career satisfaction, more than 97 percent of respondents indicated they were happy with their employment situation. Among the respondents choosing satisfied and very satisfied, the highest percentage were in the technology, education and financial services industries. When the responses for satisfaction were broken down into salary range, the OCS found that respondents making more than $100,000 were not significantly more satisfied with their employment than their classmates making less than $100,000.

According to E.J. Crawford, director of communications at the Yale Alumni Association, the amount of engagement between alumni have increased year to year and this class appears to be no exception.

“The engagement has been getting stronger as the years have gone on,” Crawford said. “A lot of that is social media driven with a lot of the newer classes making Facebook groups.”

The fifth anniversary of the class of 2015 will be hosted this May. According to Crawford, preregistration for the reunion went out this December, and 204 alumni have already signed up. He estimated that around 750 alumni will return.

According to the YAA Executive Director Weili Cheng ’77, engagement from young alumni and recent graduates are a “key component” of YAA’s efforts.

“Young alumni bring a unique energy to alumni endeavors and fresh and new ideas that help us engage alumni so that we can continue to best serve the overall alumni experience in the years and decades to come,” Cheng said.

Dames said she was interested to see next year’s survey results. She said that election cycles can change the dynamics of a
graduating class.

“I think 2020 is going to be a really interesting year because it’s going to be an election year,” Dames said. “We’ll be checking in on the class of 2016. If I had a crystal ball, I think we’re going to see a big uptake in public policy, campaigns, possibly government, depending on who’s in the administration and who’s interested in working with them.”

According to Dames, there is usually an increase in government work during every state and
presidential election cycle.

The Office of Career Strategy was known as the Undergraduate Career Services when they began creating yearly reports.

Kelly Wei | kelly.wei@yale.edu