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Graduate starting salaries

TV4casterTV4caster Posts: 500Registered User Member
edited April 2013 in University of Virginia
Lots of people have speculated in other threads about the earning potential of graduates from various top schools. Are there any objective measures of earning potential for recent graduates, as well as say 10 years into the workforce? How about subjective measures? I have an opinion when comparing UVA to W&M for example but it is based on a very small sample size. I would think the networking, employer perception, etc would play a role but an having a hard time quantifying it.
Post edited by TV4caster on

Replies to: Graduate starting salaries

  • ChrisTKDChrisTKD Posts: 893Registered User Member
    The career centers at colleges have information on the accepted offers reported by recent graduates (high, low, and median or mean). Sometimes you can find it on their website with a web search: graduate placement salaries or something similar.

    Of course, you have to compare graduates with similar degrees and have at least an idea whether the graduates are likely to be employed in similar geographic locations. A college that places all of its graduates in NYC is going to have much higher earnings reported that another one which places everyone in less expensive cities.

    I don't know of any statistics available for graduates ten years out. The reported earnings (let alone potential earnings) depend upon so many other factors unrelated to the specific college attended.
  • TV4casterTV4caster Posts: 500Registered User Member
    I finally found what I was looking for (a lengthy list vs just the top 15). In terms of starting salaries Va. Tech is 51k, UVA 49k, W&M 45k. However, the mid career median salary is highest among those 3 at W&M at 96.5k. VT is 91k, and UVA is 90k. All of those by the way are well down the list of top earners but still WAY above the average school. The list is approximately 600 schools and W&M is 56th, VT 86th, and UVA 100th.
  • AVA55AVA55 Posts: 329Registered User Member
    TV -- is this what you were looking at: Top US Colleges ? Graduate Salary Statistics ? If so, I applaud you for counting down the list!

    With CLAS housing the majority of students at UVa, this ranking is not all that surprising. That said, Dean Woo has recently acknowledged that the "The College" can do a better job marketing the value of a liberal arts education at UVa to employers. Money on the Liberal Arts — Meredith Jung-En Woo, Dean of Arts & Sciences and Buckner W. Clay Professor (in the comments section)

    The "bright side" -- UVa was not identified as a party school on the list, as some of the other schools were. ; )
  • UVaSystems2012UVaSystems2012 Posts: 85Registered User Junior Member
    If you're going to compare us with Tech, remember that they're most engineering majors, who earn higher salaries. The average salary of a UVA Engineering grad right out of school is in the 60 thousands (http://www.seas.virginia.edu/admin/careerdev/files/seasannualreport.pdf)
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,716Registered User Senior Member
    I would only take school issued data seriously. Payscale is craptacular.
  • cavalier302cavalier302 Posts: 4,343Registered User Senior Member
    This is a hard question to answer with precision. Students at different schools have different career inclinations and levels of talent, and different schools attract different types of employers.

    In Virginia, UVa clearly wins among the top tier employers (wall street, top consulting firms, etc). Total first year compensation in those jobs ranges from $60k-$150k, and people on that path 10 years out are making in the $150k-$500k range. UVa also has a lot of people interested in less monetarily rewarding jobs and graduate degree programs, which depresses salaries.

    W&M does not attract the top-tier employers in the same number as UVa and seems to have a relatively more academic/bookish student body. I suspect a higher percentage of W&M grads pursue academic graduate school or low-paying jobs such as teaching.

    Virginia Tech has a bigger focus on practical majors than VT or UVa which helps out its starting salary numbers (among those who actually graduate). VT, however, does not attract top tier employers or students. There are lots of VT grads who get their foot in the door at big NoVa defense contracting outfits, but their ceiling is much lower than the UVa alum who starts at McKinsey and moves on to a top MBA program, PE firm, etc.
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    2009 to 2011 were exceptionally bad years for everyone. I know accounting and civil engineering grads from very good colleges who had tough times getting full time jobs with benefits.
  • bookmousebookmouse Posts: 253Registered User Junior Member
    Virginia has put out a list of starting salaries for graduates of every college, public or private in the state. As for ten years out, I think at that point your salary depends on your own work and not which college you happened to graduate from ten years prior.

    Here's the stats from Virginia (an article summarizing them and the whole PDF for those who want all the details):

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-04/news/35501033_1_graduate-school-virginia-college-higher-education


    http://www.air.org/files/Virginia_EMS_Report1.pdf
  • GlobalistGlobalist Posts: 1,571Registered User Senior Member
    Bookmouse, thanks for sharing the air.org document. Very fascinating.

    I was reading the previous comments, and the thing that makes me laugh about using Payscale as a barometer of financial success (especially later in life) is that many super successful, super wealthy people won't report what they're making on Payscale. UVa produces plenty of millionaires & several billionaires. In fact, UVa has the highest percentage of millionaires who are self-made (78%) as compared to all others schools that produce the largest number of wealthy alumni.
  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Posts: 1,173Registered User Senior Member
    Bookmouse, a second thanks for posting that air.org document. The data on there is really amazing. The figures for the salaries for technical/occupational associate degrees as compared to bachelor's degrees were especially eye opening. In our county we are seeing a huge increase in the number of kids who are pursuing placements at our school system's Technical Center. It used to be that kids who weren't motivated or were taking a less than strenuous course load went there, but now there are waiting lists for students (some who are sharp cookies, too) who want to get initial education in these technical/occupational fields and then move onto the VCCS for their degree.

    I really believe the world of higher education as we know it is going to look very different when my kids are my age. With its rising costs coupled with the reality (as shown in that document) of how little a four year degree brings in terms of salary, a great number of people aren't going to be willing nor able to go the "normal" route. It really is a defining time I think.
  • shoebox10shoebox10 Posts: 3,550Registered User Senior Member
    K&K: I think that "phenomenon" is already happening for Masters. For awhile (pre-market bust/recession) you had to get a Masters to go anywhere. Now, with a Masters costing 30-60k, more and more graduates are weighing whether a degree that costs 30-60k is actually worth it. In the long run, it may be, but right now salaries are just not supportive of dropping that kind of money. Especially with the housing market what it is right now, I think more people in their early to mid twenties are going for real-estate as a long term investment. It's physical equity that is relatively low-cost, coupled with low interest rates, that can mature over time quite possibly quicker than the payoff of another degree.
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