The web-based graduation survey was open to members of the National Society of Leadership and Success across 470 colleges and universities nationwide. More than 5,600 traditional (those between the ages of 18 to 24) and non-traditional students (those who started or returned to school at or after age 25) responded. All participants will receive either an Associate or Bachelor degree in 2015.
More students plan to pursue jobs in healthcare
Nearly 29 percent of soon-to-be graduates said they plan to pursue a career in healthcare, which includes jobs in general health and wellness, medicine, nursing, and behavioral studies such as psychology, following graduation. Healthcare ranked as the number one career choice for female graduates.
Business and financial services was the second most popular career choice among all survey respondents and the most popular choice among male graduates. Careers in education, the military and law/law enforcement, and communications, which included careers in public relations, marketing, and media, ranked third through fifth respectively.
“It was interesting to find such high interest in healthcare careers among this year’s graduates,” said Charles Knippen, president of the National Society of Leadership and Success. “Recent reports show that there’s high demand for physical therapists, nurses, pharmacy assistants, and related careers. This intersection between industry demand and student interest is a positive indicator for students looking to land their first healthcare-related job after college.”
Graduates feel optimistic, confident and well prepared
Majority of 2015 college graduates -- 68 percent -- said they feel optimistic about the current job market. Men tended to be more optimistic than women (70 percent of men selected either “highly” or “somewhat optimistic” compared 68 percent of women.
When asked about succeeding after college, 85 percent of graduates said they feel adequately prepared. This general sense of preparedness was shared equally among male and female graduates -- 87 percent of men and 86 percent of women reporting feeling “highly” or “somewhat prepared” for success after graduation.
“I’m glad to see such confidence among 2015 graduates,” said Knippen. ”Society members have access to a number of personal and professional development resources, including an online interview series, success coaching, and leadership training that help boost confidence and get them prepared for life after college. I think it’s these resources and the strengthened soft skills that students gain by participating that have contributed to the sense of preparedness among this year’s graduates.”
Few students line up jobs in advance of graduation.
Only 18 percent of survey participants have a job secured before they graduate. Most -- 40 percent -- will begin their job search after leaving school.
While the Millennial Generation is typically characterized as being more entrepreneurial and socially conscious than previous generations, only 2 percent of survey respondents plan to start their own business or engage in philanthropic or volunteer activities after graduation. Twenty-three percent will go on to pursue an advanced degree immediately following their undergraduate studies.
Few students plan to move home following graduation
Four percent of survey participants are planning to move home with their parents after receiving their college degree. Forty-five percent of graduates intend to seek career opportunities in the city where they went to school and 17 percent plan to relocate. Of those that plan to relocate, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York and Houston rank among the top most attractive U.S. cities.
Additional survey data and details are included in The National Society of Leadership and Success Graduating Class of 2015: A Snapshot infographic available below.