The analysis described in this report investigates the relationship between undergraduate major and early employment outcomes among 1992-93 college graduates who did not pursue graduate education within four years after earning their bachelor's degree (i.e., as of 1997). These college graduates represented 70 percent of all graduates, and most entered the labor market immediately after finishing their degree.
The 1992-93 college graduates entered a labor market in the midst of an economic recovery following a two-year recession. By 1997, the economy was strong and jobs were plentiful. Four years after most earned their bachelor's degree, nearly all college graduates who had not enrolled in graduate school were working full time. The findings of this study confirm what has been reported consistently in other studies about earnings: college graduates who major in the applied fields of engineering, business, computer science, nursing, and other health fields earn higher than average full-time salaries.
This study also examined other aspects of employment including job stability, job benefits, and job satisfaction. Taking into account all these aspects along with salary, engineering and computer science stood out as the fields with the most consistent favorable employment outcomes for bachelor's degree recipients. In contrast, education and humanities and arts majors experienced the least favorable outcomes. Graduates of nursing, business, and engineering programs experienced greater than average job stability.
Results were mixed for social science and biological science majors. Those in social sciences reported lower than average salaries in 1994, but not in 1997. The opposite was true for those majoring in biological and interdisciplinary sciences: they reported average salaries in 1994, but in 1997 their salaries were lower than average. The salaries of mathematics and physical science majors did not differ from those of all graduates in either year, nor did the rate at which their full-time salaries increased between 1994 and 1997.
USER NOTE: This publication is best viewed using a screen resolution of at least 800x600 pixels. For instructions on how to change your screen resolution, please see NCES Help.