Unemployment was not a problem for most 1992-93 college graduates who had not pursued graduate education. In 1997, within four years of graduating, just 2 percent were unemployed,2 2 while almost all (86 percent) reported working full time. Compared with all graduates, business, engineering and computer science majors were more likely to be employed full time (over 90 percent), while humanities and arts majors were less likely to work full time (79 percent).
Job stability, as measured by the percentage of graduates with any unemployment spells, the number of jobs worked since bachelor's degree attainment, and the average number of months worked in the April 1997 job, was high for graduates who had majored in nursing, engineering, or business. Graduates in all three fields worked in fewer jobs than all graduates and had worked in their April 1997 job longer. Nursing majors also were much less likely to report any spells of unemployment since earning their bachelor's degree. Conversely, those with majors in communications/journalism or humanities and arts fields worked in more jobs since graduation and fewer months in their April 1997 job than all graduates.
College graduates who had majored in applied fields 3 were very likely to be employed in occupations related to their majors. This was especially true for those majoring in nursing and other health fields, among whom 96 percent and 68 percent, respectively, were employed as medical professionals. In addition, nearly three-quarters of education majors (74 percent) worked as teachers, and 60 percent of engineering majors as engineers.4 Similarly, 60 percent of social work/protective service majors were working in social service fields. There was an exception to this pattern, however, for communications/journalism majors who were more likely than graduates in any other field to be working in service occupations (33 percent).
For academic fields,5 roughly one-quarter of college graduates with majors in either biological sciences or mathematics/physical sciences were working as teachers, and roughly the same percentage in both fields worked in occupations related to research, science, or technical work. Social science majors, on the other hand, were likely to be employed in business occupations (32 percent), followed by either service occupations (18 percent) or human and protective services (16 percent).