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University sees record number of jobs after graduation | News

RIVER FALLS – The University of Wisconsin-River Falls reported that 94% of graduating students found employment within the first six months after graduation. The report is for students who graduated from August 2020 to May 2021.

The number is up 6% since the last report and ties the university’s record set in 2016.

The report is called “The Final Destination Report”. It was conducted by the Career Services Department at UW-River Falls.

Director of Career Services Melissa Wilson said the data was collected in a variety of ways. One method was a department exit survey asking graduates about their future plans.

Another method of data collection came from graduates who posted their new jobs on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Melissa Wilson is director of career services at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The department reported that 94% of graduating students found employment within the first six months after graduation.

Students who found internships, furthered their education, or joined the military were also included in the report. Wilson said smaller studies have been done, but that sample size provides “a great view of the class.”

“We’re in constant data collection mode, so when a student reports their new job, we add it to the report,” Wilson said.

Career Services strives to help students find a job or an internship during or after their university career. Wilson said obtaining the report was a “collaborative effort” by the department.

Wilson believes these numbers would not be possible without the academic preparation of the faculty. She said the student-focused faculty reflects the report.

“Our faculty and staff prepare students to do a great job preparing them for post-graduation,” Wilson said. “Their continued commitment is reflected in this report.”

Data for the report was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilson said the pandemic hasn’t slowed any students down from finding jobs. She said it benefits graduates.

“During the pandemic, we have seen a lot of career changes. These gaps have left opportunities open for people, especially students, to fill these gaps,” Wilson said.

The most interesting piece of data Wilson had for the report was the average salary a UWRF graduate can expect to earn. The report showed an average salary of just over $48,000.

“It allows students who had previous experiences to benefit because it allows them to enter the market on a non-entry level salary,” Wilson explained.

Wilson said the average salary shows how much employers value a college degree. She added that this demonstrates the value of having an internship.

“Having those internships and experiences in their career field makes them marketable to employers,” she said.

Other important findings from the report include how many graduates stay in Wisconsin or Minnesota. This number was reported at 89%.

The report showed that graduates had been hired in 34 different states and six countries. It showed graduates working at 688 unique companies, including 43 Fortune 500 companies.

“It’s impressive, we plan to use this data to recruit new students and make the university marketable,” Wilson said.

While the report shows beneficial results, Wilson said some minor things can be improved. One improvement to keep the numbers high is to promote the “hired before graduation” marketing campaign.

Wilson said the campaign encourages students to use career services to find an internship or first-year job when they arrive on campus.

The aim of the campaign is to highlight students who had either an internship or a job before graduation. Students then share their stories with other students, encouraging them to join the campaign.

Wilson believes the campaign contributes to the report’s positive data. She said the department plans to continue promoting the program to students.

“Stats are important, but stories are the fabric of college,” Wilson said.

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