A new IES Abroad study has found that studying abroad may be one of the best ways for college students to find jobs sooner after graduation, related to their majors, and at a higher salary.
The survey showed that nearly 90% of IES Abroad study abroad alumni found their first job within six months of graduation, as compared to only 49% of respondents in a recent survey of the general college graduate population who had found work within a year of finishing school.
In addition, more than 65% of the IES Abroad students surveyed found a career-related position within a timeframe that met or exceeded their expectations.
Respondents in the IES Abroad survey graduated from college between 2006 and 2011, a period that fell directly in the middle of the Great Recession, when it was particularly difficult for recent college graduates to find employment in their area of study. The majority of the students in the IES Abroad survey majored in the liberal arts—with only 3% majoring in high-demand areas such as math or science, and only 8% focused on health-related studies—yet nearly 65% felt their first job was ‘very closely’ or ‘somewhat closely’ related to their majors.
In addition to getting jobs related to their majors or jobs that aligned with their career-track, most respondents secured jobs that were full-time and required college degrees.
College graduates who studied abroad on IES Abroad programs earned, on average, $7,000 more in starting salaries than those from the general population of recent US college graduates, according to the findings. IES Abroad alumni respondents secured average starting salaries of $35,000 at their first full-time jobs.
By comparison, according to a report released May 10 by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the general population of graduates from 2006 through 2011 earned starting salaries averaging $28,000, and only 49% of graduates had found a full-time job within a year of finishing school, compared to the 95% of IES Abroad alumni respondents after 12 months.
“We believe that more and more employers are realizing the extraordinary benefits of study abroad, and are seeking out graduates who have had study abroad experiences. Key jobs skills such as adaptability, global understanding and tolerance, leadership, and independence are directly fostered by learning and living abroad,” said Dr. Mary M. Dwyer, President and CEO of IES Abroad. “For parents concerned about the return on their investment, studying abroad offers some very clear benefits for graduates.”
Among the IES Abroad study abroad graduates in the survey who went back to or were currently in graduate school, 90% reported getting into their first or second choice graduate school.
The 2012 IES Abroad Recent Graduate Study was conducted in March 2012 to assess the impact study abroad has on a recent graduate’s prospects in securing employment and/or attending graduate school directly after earning a degree from a four-year college or university in the United States. A total of 1,008 alumni responded to the survey.
2012 IES Abroad Recent Graduate Study – Key Findings
- Nearly 90% secured a job within the first six months after graduation
- 50% felt the overseas experience helped them get their first jobs
- 84% felt that studying abroad helped them build valuable job skills such as foreign language skills, cultural training, tolerance for ambiguity, adaptability, communication, and more
- 90% got into their first or second choice graduate or professional school