Daniel Zhao

Alumni from the class of 2019 have higher starting salaries and a higher inclination toward the tech and similar top industries compared to their 2018 predecessors, according to a recent report from the Office of Career Strategy.

Two weeks ago, OCS released the First Destination Report for the class of 2019, an annual report detailing alumni’s post-graduate plans. The survey reflected first-destination career outcomes for 90.6 percent of the class of 2019, and of those with known post-graduate outcomes, 96.5 percent reported confirmed plans. The data showed an average starting salary of $68,472 for the class, $2,830 more than the class of 2018’s average salary one year after its graduation. Approximately three-quarters, 74.7 percent, of graduates are employed, and the next largest group — 16.9 percent — is attending graduate school. The data was collected under guidelines set by the National Association of College and Employers.

“I think the salary increase is a combination of things,” said OCS Director Jeanine Dames. “It’s a combination of graduates working for larger employers, the tech industry growing and increased salaries over time. The economy in 2019 is much better than the economy in 2013.”

Approximately 70 percent of respondents reporting full-time employment in the United States began their career making $50,000 or more, while 52.9 percent of respondents started with a salary of $70,000 or more. Respondents who had a starting salary of $100,000 comprised 11.7 percent and 10.7 percent reported having negotiated salary.

Of the highest paid respondents reporting a starting salary of $100,000 or above, 68.3 percent are working for employers with more than 501 employees. Among these respondents, 16.7 percent will be working in the financial services industry while 66.7 percent will be working in the technology industry.

Despite the difference in starting salary, other data for the class of 2019 has remained relatively consistent with that of previous years. The majority of graduates — 64 percent — work for a for-profit corporation, while 24.8 percent work for nonprofit organizations and 11.2 percent work for a government or public institution.

“The Yale faculty … consistently encourages … students to think about major world issues and what role they will play in resolving these problems,” said OCS Director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Service Careers Robyn Acampora. “In addition, Yale’s Common Good & Creative Careers initiative has provided support for students interested in careers in nonprofit, government and the arts.”

According to Acampora, the nonprofit work that graduates enter ranges from year-long service fellowships with organizations such as AmeriCorps and Teach For America to “small legal service organizations, national environmental non-profits and other issue areas.”

Both Dames and Acampora predict that a higher number of students from the class of 2020 will work on political campaigns due to the upcoming presidential election. According to Acampora, many Yale students are interested in working on a campaign.

“There are very few times in your life when you can pick up, move to a new area and have the stamina to campaign for someone,”
Acampora said.

The top industries for alumni have remained fairly consistent for the class of 2019 — financial services, education, consulting and technology. The recent alums’ top functions are finance, consulting, laboratory research and programming and software development.

The class of 2019 displayed an increase in the number of graduates entering the technology industry, another installment in a trend that has spanned the past few years. Of the class of 2019, 12.4 percent entered the technology industry, compared to 10.7 percent for the class of 2018.

“Over the past couple of years and going forward, we’re experiencing a technology revolution,” said Director of Employer Relations David Halek. “The future is all about information. Companies in every industry rely on information to make decisions. Data Mining is a big thing. That coupled with AI and augmented reality, I think that there’s great demand across all industries for tech talent.”

Halek said he has seen a number of students migrate to Yale’s Statistics Department since it was reshaped to become the Statistics and Data Science Department.

Another change has been the increase in graduates involved in what the Office refers to as a creative career. According to Derek Webster, associate director for the arts at the Office of Career Strategy, part of this has to do with Yale’s reputation as the “Arts Ivy.”

“I work with students from all academic backgrounds and it’s rarely as clean-cut as an English major being solely interested in a writing or publishing career, or only the Film and Media majors exploring the entertainment industry,” Webster said. “More often we find the strength of a multi-faceted liberal arts background provides our students with a wide-enough artistic and cultural context to prepare them for careers in any number of creative industries.”

Webster attributed some of popularity in the arts to Yale’s support for “interdisciplinary projects and artistic collaboration.” Some examples of support include the Common Good & Creative Careers initiative as well as the Arts Apprenticeship model of the Domestic Summer Award, Webster said.

The majority of graduates work for a large employer, defined as those with more than 501 or more employees. Some organizations that hired the most 2019 Yale graduates included Google, McKinsey & Company, Google, Teach For America and Yale University, with Yale being the top employer.

Of the respondents, 85.5 percent reported using OCS career resources during their time at Yale, and more than 53 percent reported finding their post-graduate opportunity directly through Yale resources. According to the survey, the most frequently used OCS resources were meeting with a career advisor, the tools on the Yale Career link and the tools available through the OCS website.

Through the survey, 669 new graduates joined the Yale College Admissions Alumni Schools Committee. According to Edward Crawford, communications and marketing director for the Yale Alumni Association, the Friday before the Yale-Harvard game, 117 of the 448 attendees of BOLD Night at Bar were from the class of 2019, comprising 26 percent of attendees. In 2017, that number was 21 percent for that year’s graduating class. While that is not a lot of draw on, it does seem to indicate a good level of engagement, Crawford said.

The Office of Career Strategies started compiling data for First Destination Reports beginning with the class of 2013.


Kelly Wei | kelly.wei@yale.edu