Average salary for recent Northwestern graduates rising, study says


Daily file graphic by Rebecca Savransky

An annual study from Northwestern Career Advancement found the average salary for last year's graduates who worked full time six months after graduation was $52,156. The 2014 graduate's average salary was 5 percent higher than that of the previous class.

Julia Jacobs, Summer Editor

Last year’s graduates experienced a 5 percent growth in average salary compared to the previous class, according to a study from Northwestern Career Advancement.

Participants from the class of 2014 who worked full time had an average salary of $52,156 six months after graduation, while the class of 2013 was taking home an average of $49,573 six months out.

Mark Presnell, executive director of NCA, said the increase is likely due not only to rising salaries but to the industries graduates choose, which vary widely in average pay.

The leading field for 2014 NU grads was business services, financial services and investment banking, with 18 percent of those with full-time jobs working in those areas. Employment in communication, marketing and media as well as consulting followed closely behind.

Graduates from the School of Professional Studies who worked full time experienced the highest pay jump, with a 13 percent increase in average salary. Salaries for the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications graduates followed with an 11 percent rise.

The average salary for full-time workers from the class of 2014 was more than $4,000 higher than the national average of graduates for that year, according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The study also showed four out of five graduates in 2014 were either employed full time or continuing their education a half-year later, which is consistent with the results from the study of the previous year’s class.

Based on the study’s participants 62 percent were employed full time and 21 percent were studying in graduate or professional school.

“Hopefully it gives students some knowledge that six months after graduation the vast majority of Northwestern students have found their way,” Presnell said.

Instead of relying solely on survey responses, NCA bolstered its data by seeking additional information from outside sources including graduate schools, an online database, undergraduate schools and athletic departments, as well as LinkedIn, Presnell said. Information from alumni who altered their LinkedIn profiles post-graduation accounted for 19 percent of the total results, he said.

Due to the expansion of data collection, the percentage of respondents increased from 49 percent of 2013 graduates to 80 percent of 2014 graduates. More than 1,700 graduates participated in this year’s survey compared to nearly 1,100 respondents from the class of 2013.

The consistency the department found between the survey data and information from external sources confirms the graduates’ high level of achievement post-graduation, Presnell said.

“It gives a very clear message that our students are being successful,” he said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @juliarebeccaj