Business Matters

Mason graduates find quick success in the workforce

More than 80 percent of Mason’s graduate and undergraduate degree earners in 2018 reported positive career outcomes within six months of graduation, achieving a university strategic goal to reach that benchmark for both groups.

In Mason’s Class of 2018 Career Plans Survey, conducted by University Career Services and the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, 86 percent of students who earned graduate degrees and 81 percent of students who earned undergraduate degrees in 2018 reported a positive career outcome within six months of graduating.

The undergraduate number is three points higher than last year’s, and the graduate number remained at 86 percent. Salaries for both groups also increased.

Saskia Clay-Rooks, executive director for University Career Services, said the uptick in graduates’ success reflects the quality of education Mason students receive, the professional and year-round internship and job opportunities available in the area and employers’ desire to tap into an academically prepared and diverse talent pool.

The 2018 survey results showed that 92 percent of Mason graduates settled in the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia —including 73 percent in the commonwealth.

“Employers know they can count on Mason to consistently produce graduates who fill the critical needs of the region,” Clay-Rooks said. “Mason students can engage with employers on campus throughout their time at the university. It makes for a steady pipeline and smooth transition.”

For the 2018 Career Plans Survey, University Career Services collected data from 67 percent of 8,671 graduates, a collection rate 10 percent higher than the 2017 survey’s.

More than 1,100 graduates responded to the salary portion of the survey. They reported a median salary of $61,100, up from $59,000 in 2017. The 475 undergraduate degree earners reported a median salary of $60,000, an increase from $54,000 in 2017. The 671 graduate degree earners who responded reported a median salary of $65,000, up from $62,000 in 2017.

Competition for top talent in high-need areas is a contributing factor to the increase in starting salaries. Undergraduate degree earners who work in engineering, technology and consulting reported a $65,000 average salary. Graduate degree earners in technology, government and consulting average more than $90,000.

Many Mason students graduate with jobs. University Career Services offers about 140 employer-related events per academic year, a total that does not include networking events organized by individual Mason schools and colleges. Their recent Education Recruitment Day, for example, drew 66 employers, up from the 52 who attended last year.

Upcoming University Career Services events include the Health and Science Career Fair on April 17 and the Just-in-Time Hiring Fair on May 20.

Networking with the more than 100,000 Mason alumni in the area also helps Mason graduates find and land professional opportunities.

That personal touch can be the difference between an interview and an offer. Virtual interviews are becoming more common at many colleges, Clay-Rooks said, but because of Mason’s convenient location, employers prefer to visit campus to talk to students in person. Recruiters frequently note “the professional mindset” of Mason students, Clay-Rooks said.