Campus News

What next? Where UGA students head after graduation

After exams are finished and mortarboards are tossed, most of the newest University of Georgia graduates will be heading into the workforce.

“This is the best time in 10 years to be graduating from college and hitting the job market,” said Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of agricultural and applied economics at UGA. “Employers plan to hire more college grads this year than last and the job market is generally pretty strong. Many of my students already have jobs and the salaries so far in my department have been impressive.”

Job prospects

Nationally, employers plan to hire 5.2 percent more new college graduates in 2016 than they did the previous year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

For UGA job seekers, the job market has steadily improved since the Great Recession. In 2010, 52 percent of the graduating class were employed and about 28 percent were enrolling in graduate school, according to UGA Career Center numbers. For 2015 graduates, that percentage was up to 64 percent employed; 19 percent had enrolled in graduate school-with many of these students lining up jobs within three to six months. Preliminary survey results for the Class of 2016 shows an even a better full-time employment rate of 68 percent.

“Many of these students are receiving job offers before graduation,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center. “They’re also getting multiple job offers. Students are emailing us ‘I have a job offer, but I still have two interviews. What do I do?’ It’s a good problem to have.”

In total, 95 percent of UGA students find full- or part-time work, graduate school, internships or self-employment within six months of graduation.

And that number is 15 percent stronger than the national average, according to Williams.

“Our students are exceptionally talented and possess not only the technical skills, but key career readiness skills that employers are seeking such as leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and professionalism,” said Williams. “Ultimately, they represent future leaders in a myriad of professional career fields.”

Where are new UGA graduates getting jobs?

UGA graduates are working in 48 states across the U.S. and 38 countries.

Many new graduates stay in state, but other popular U.S. destinations include Birmingham, Charlotte, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Some of the employers for the class of 2015 include AT&T, the CDC, Delta Airlines, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Coca-Cola Company, USDA and State Farm Insurance.

Many UGA graduates go on to teach-and some of the school systems hiring the most UGA graduates include nearby schools and Atlanta schools: Barrow, Cherokee, Clarke, Cobb, Dekalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Jackson and Newton county schools.

UGA students are also attending graduate schools-in state at schools ranging from Emory to Georgia Tech. Popular out-of-state destinations include Cornell, Duke, Vanderbilt and the University of Virginia.

How much are new graduates making?

Earnings for new graduates vary by field, but median salaries for most UGA schools and colleges ranged between $27,000 and $53,000. On the high end some graduates were earning $80,000 to $122,500. For those receiving master’s and doctoral degrees, many new alumni reported salaries in the six figures.

How are UGA students getting these jobs?

Students are finding jobs through the UGA Career Center, through websites, networking, recruiters and more.

UGA had 1,141 unique employers recruiting and interviewing on campus since June of last year, according to the Career Center. In that time, a total of 12,195 jobs and internships were posted to the Career Center’s jobs website DAWGlink-with 2,517 jobs currently listed.

And participation in UGA job fairs has never been higher. At the low point in the recession in fall 2009, there were 136 employers and 1,500 students who attended. This year, the fall career fair had 270 companies and 2,413 students attend and the spring career fair had 248 companies and 2,144 students attend.

Internships are another way students find work or even find their next job. Target, Chick-fil-A, AT&T, Cox, Macy’s, Aflac, State Farm and Evoshield are some of the most popular internship destinations for students, and many of these companies are hoping to “convert” their student interns into full-time employees once they graduate, Williams said.

Tori Hartshorn, a May 2016 graduate from Cumming, interned with a Broadway production company last summer. That internship gave her the connections and relationships she needed to get a job as an executive assistant for Broadway Records in New York City.

“I feel like what has prepared me the most to be where I am today was the experience of moving up to New York City by myself last summer and giving it a go, as well as some of the immersive learning experiences I have had as a student in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication,” said Hartshorn, an entertainment and media studies major. “I am really excited to get started up there, being that I love the industry and have followed it closely for years now. What I am most excited about is being able to invest myself and my time in a position that I am really passionate about and has brought me so much joy over the years.”

For more information, visit UGA Career Outcomes.