Survey Says…Liberal Arts Grads from Penn Do All Sorts of Cool Things!

By Claire Klieger

I recently completed our preliminary career plans survey report for the Class of 2014 graduates from the College. Not surprisingly, our liberal arts grads are doing very well. In fact, there more students employed full-time (61%) and a lower “seeking employment” rate (6%) as compared to the results from the preliminary report done at the same time last year. Both of these are signs that the economy is turning around. Correspondingly, we also saw a small decline in the number of 2014 grads going directly on to graduate school, which is typically another indicator that students are feeling more confident about the economy.

The variety of industries represented is also pretty broad. While finance and consulting continue to be the two most popular industries for College grads (and serves as proof that you don’t need to be a Wharton student to land those jobs!), education, communications technology round out the top five. The list of employers hiring the most college students is equally diverse, including everything from Teach for America to BCG to Google to Macy’s to NBCUniversal to the National Institutes of Health.

We hear time and again from National Employment Surveys that the qualities that are most valuable to employers in new hires are the same ones that are inherent to a liberal arts education: strong communication skills, the ability to work in a team, problem solving and analytical skills. It’s no wonder, then, that we see grads doing really cool things.

Also interesting to note is the timing of offers. At Penn it can often feel like everyone has their plans tied up with a bow by the end of fall semester. For many students in the College, job offers often come later because hiring timelines in many of the fields that interest our liberal arts grads (communications, education, non-profits, government) are different than OCR and employers in those industries often won’t hire new grads until right before or even after graduation, when they are ready to start work. As such, we see again for the Class of 2014, that the bulk didn’t receive their offers until spring semester of senior year or the summer after graduation (57%), so students in the Class of 2015 who don’t yet have offers should take comfort in knowing they will have plenty of time to land an opportunity that excites them.

And, the majority (68%) of those full-time employed or in graduate school used Penn Career Services!  I look forward to posting the final and longer report on the website in December and reporting more on the amazing things that liberal arts grads do.

Author: Claire Klieger

Claire Klieger is an Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates. She earned her Ed.D. from Penn and did her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia. Fun Fact: Claire spent 11 years in the Middle East and North Africa.