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The class of '86: one year after graduation.

The Class of '86: One Year After Graduation

The college class of 1986 enjoyed more success in the labor market than did the classes of 1977, 1980, or 1984 according to a survey of recent graduates conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and analyzed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The proportion of graduates in the labor force reached 89 percent. Almost all of the gain was in full-time employment, which reached 73 percent. Twelve percent of the graduates were employed part time and 4 percent were unemployed. Despite the gains in the job market, graduate school attendance was also high, at 24 percent, only 1 percent lower than it had been for the class of 1977.

The following pages present information on the labor force and graduate school status of graduates in 20 major fields of study. For more information on the class as a whole and for comparisons with earlier classes, see "Labor Market Trends for New College Graduates" in the Fall 1990 OOQ.

A great deal of information about graduates of the class of 1986 appears in the following charts. The text analyzes the data in the charts and gives some additional information from the survey. Because the graduates' experiences vary so much from major to major and because the reliability of the data depends on the number of graduates in each field, the sections vary in detail. All are organized along the same lines, however.

Labor force status is given in graphic form according to five classifications: In the labor force, employed full time, employed part time (less than 35 hours a week), unemployed (not employed but seeking employment), and not in the labor force.

Occupations of employed graduates are grouped in two categories: Occupations generally requiring a degree for entry and other occupations, that is, those not generally requiring a degree for entry. For this article, jobs requiring a degree include all managerial, professional specialty, technical, and nonretail sales occupations. Jobs not requiring a degree include retail sales, administrative support, craft, operative, laborer, and service jobs.

Among occupations generally requiring a degree, those related to the graduates' major are listed at the top, beginning in most cases with the occupation in which the most graduates were employed. Then occupations entered by a smaller percentage of graduates are listed in alphabetical order. For occupations generally not requiring a degree, occupational groups appear in the following sequence: Administrative support; service; retail sales; and craft, operative, and laborer. The labor force participation rate for accounting (94 percent) was one of the highest for any field. It had the highest rate of full-time employment (86 percent). Of those working part time, almost all preferred to do so, indicating that a very small percentage were unable to find full-time jobs. Few accounting graduates attended graduate school, probably because they need no graduate work to be considered qualified for an entry level position.

Some of the occupations not shown separately on the chart that accounting graduates worked in were management analyst, securities sales representative, insurance sales worker, counselor, and secondary school teacher.

Most of the administrative support workers said their work was closely or somewhat related to accounting--many were probably bookkeepers--and about one-third said their job required a college degree. The low proportion in service, craft, operative, laborer, and retail sales positions may reflect the low proportion of accounting graduates in graduate school the lowest proportion (11 percent) among the major fields covered. Most of the agriculture and natural resources graduates who were science technicians said their work was closely or somewhat related to their major.

The 20 percent who were in managerial occupations included 1 percent who were financial managers; 9 percent, other managers and administrators; 1 percent, buyers; and 9 percent, other management-related occupations. The elementary and secondary school teachers indicated that their work was closely related to agriculture and natural resources.

Those in occupations not generally requiring a degree, such as animal caretaker and farm worker, said their work was closely or somewhat related to agriculture. Sixty percent of these also said a degree was not required for their jobs. Of the administrative support workers, 60 percent said their work was closely or somewhat related to agriculture, and 40 percent said their job required a degree. Of the craft, operative, and laborer workers, 60 percent reported their work as being closely or somewhat related to their major; 30 percent said their jobs required a degree. Most of the art majors working part time did not want full-time work. Almost one-third of those working part time did so because they could not find full-time work, which may indicate that graduates face strong competition for employment.

Thirty-five percent of art graduates, the lowest proportion among all the major fields covered, said a degree was needed for their jobs. This is reasonable because a good portfolio (samples of one's best work) is the main qualification for obtaining many art-related jobs. Many people study art in college to develop the abilities needed to produce a good portfolio. However, talented individuals without college training can produce a good portfolio.

Fifteen percent were designers and 5 percent were teachers, mostly in elementary school. Since most of the elementary school teachers said their work was closely related to art, many likely were art teachers. Most of those classified as other writers and artists probably were artists; almost all said their work was closely related to art. More than half of those in managerial occupations said their work was closely or somewhat related to art, and two-thirds said a degree was required.

One-third of those in administrative support occupations said their work was closely related to their art degree, and one-third said it was somewhat related. However, less than 10 percent said a degree was required. Many of the administrative support workers were probably employed in graphic arts or advertising agencies, where workers start in administrative support roles and move into positions that require their artistic skills at later date. The biological sciences had the lowest percentage of graduates in the labor force, 62 percent, but most of those who were not in the labor force were in graduate school. Eighty percent of those working part time did not want full-time jobs; many were graduate students. Almost half of all biological science graduates were enrolled in graduate school.

Most of the secondary school teachers said their work was closely related to their major; they probably were biology teachers. The small percentage who were biological scientists is understandable since most professional jobs in biology require an advanced degree. Those who were health technologists and technicians reported that their work was closely or somewhat related to biological sciences in almost all cases. Most of those who were in other managerial and professional specialty occupations reported their jobs were closely or somewhat related to biological sciences.

Few in any of the occupations not generally requiring a degree said a degree was necessary for their job. However, many of these workers said their work was closely or somewhat related to biological sciences. Although a college degree is an entry requirement for only a very small proportion of all administrative support jobs, more than one-third of the business graduates in administrative support jobs said a degree was required to obtain the job they held. Eighty percent of these administrative support workers said that their work was closely or somewhat related to business and management. Among the administrative support occupations held were bookkeeper, clerical supervisor, and secretary.

Eighty percent of the retail sales workers said their work was at least somewhat related to their major. Forty percent of the service workers said their work was related to business and management. Over half of all chemistry graduates (52 percent) were enrolled in graduate school, the highest rate of graduate school enrollment among the major fields. Almost all those not in the labor force were in school.

Fifteen percent were secondary school teachers, most of whom were probably chemistry teachers because 85 percent said their work was closely related to chemistry. Over one-third of health technologists and technicians said their work was closely related to chemistry.

Except for those who were teachers' aides and health aides, almost all of those in occupations not generally requiring a degree said their work was not related to chemistry. Communications had the third highest labor force participation rate. More than half of those working part time wanted full-time work.

Most of the graduates employed in managerial, professional specialty, technical, and nonretail sales reported doing work closely related to communications. This is reasonable because communication skills are applicable in a very wide range of occupations. Many of those in managerial occupations worked as buyers, management analysts, financial managers, and real estate managers. Most of the nonretail sales workers were employed in advertising sales, securities sales, and other business services sales.

Of those in administrative support occupations, the largest numbers were general office clerks, production coordinators, secretaries, transportation ticket and reservation agents, and administrative support supervisors. Computer and information sciences had the highest proportion of graduates in the labor force of all the major fields covered.

It also had a high proportion of graduates in occupations requiring a degree (86 percent), and the fourth highest proportion working in occupations directly related to their major. Most of the graduates in other managerial, professional specialty, and technical occupations said their work was closely related to computer and information sciences.

Of those in administrative support occupations, 2 percent were computer operators and 1 percent were computer operator supervisors. One-quarter of those in administrative support jobs said a college degree was required for their job. Although a high percentage of economics graduates worked in jobs requiring a degree, only 19 percent said their work was closely related to economics. This is understandable because an advanced degree is required for most economist jobs.

Jobs in other managerial occupations included underwriter and personnel, training, and labor relations specialist. Graduates in other nonretail sales occupations worked in advertising sales, securities and financial services sales, and sales of other business services.

The percentage of graduates in administrative support occupations was about the same as for business degrees. Education graduates had among the highest percentage of graduates in the labor force. They also had the second highest percentage of graduates working part time because they could not find full-time jobs. This is understandable, though, due to the large number of part-time jobs in education.

Of the school teachers, about 50 percent were elementary school teachers, 40 percent were secondary school teachers, and the rest were preschool, kindergarten, special education, and other teachers. About 17 percent of the teachers worked part time. Among the other occupations education graduates entered were librarian, counselor, engineer, health technologist or technician and therapist. Virtually all engineering graduates who worked part time preferred to do so; most probably could have found full-time employment if they desired it. This was also the case for engineering graduates in earlier classes.

Next to nursing, engineering had the highest proportion of graduates in occupations that required a degree. Furthermore, engineering graduates had the highest proportion (86 percent) among all the majors covered who said a college degree was needed for their jobs. Engineering also had the second highest percentage of graduates working in occupations directly related to their major. Of those who were engineers, 64 percent said their work was closely related to engineering; only 6 percent said it was not.

Two-thirds of those who were engineering technicians and technologists said their work was at least somewhat related to engineering. Many in this occupation, especially those with degrees in engineering technology, probably were doing work very similar to those who reported themselves as engineers. Of those in managerial occupations, over two-thirds said their work was closely related to engineering. Those who were teachers said that their work was closely related to engineering. Fifteen percent of English graduates were not in the labor force because they were in graduate school.

Two-thirds of those who were elementary and secondary school teachers said their work was closely related to English. Most of those in managerial occupations said their work was not related to English. Occupations in management included accountant and underwriter. Other occupations the graduates worked in included advertising sales representative, computer systems analyst, buyer, purchasing manager, financial services sales representative, and business services sales worker.

Making up the administrative support occupations were occupations such as secretary, bookkeeper, administrative support supervisor, computer equipment operator, file clerk, insurance adjuster, receptionist, and stock clerk. About one-quarter of the clerical workers said a degree was required for their job. Almost all of the history graduates who were not in the labor force were in graduate school.

None of the graduates were historians, which is understandable since an advanced degree is required to enter most jobs in this occupation. More than 50 percent of the teachers said their work was closely related to history, but 17 percent said their work was not.

Graduates in other managerial occupations were employed as accountants; business and promotion agents; personnel, training, and labor relations specialists; and in a variety of other management occupations. Most of those in managerial occupations said their work was not related to history.

Few graduates in occupations that did not require a degree said that their jobs were either related to history or required a degree. Those in administrative support occupations included bookkeepers, administrative support supervisors, computer operators, library clerks, secretaries, and teachers aides. The percentage of home economics graduates working as teachers declined sharply from 17 percent in 1984 to 1 percent in 1986, while the proportion working as dietitians more than doubled to 19 percent.

Most of those in managerial occupations reported that their jobs were closely related to home economics, while more than 50 percent said a degree was not required.

One-half of graduates in occupations that do not require a degree said their work was at least somewhat related to home economics. Mathematics had the fifth highest percentage of graduates in occupations requiring a degree, 82 percent. Of the computer specialists, 11 percent were programmers and 5 percent were systems analysts or computer scientists. Most of the school teachers said their work was closely related to mathematics, so most probably were mathematics teachers.

Eighty percent of those in managerial occupations reported that a degree was required for their jobs. One-half said their work was related to mathematics.

The administrative support workers were mostly bookkeepers, computer operators, secretaries, and teachers aides. The proportion of nursing graduates in the labor force was the second highest among all majors covered, 95 percent.

Nursing was the highest among all the fields covered in three categories: The proportion of graduates employed in occupations requiring a degree (97 percent); the proportion in occupations directly related to the field of study (92 percent were registered nurses); and the proportion who said their work was closely related to their major (92 percent).

Most of the nursing graduates employed in an occupation other than nursing reported doing work closely related to their major. Physical education had the highest percentage of graduates working part time because they could not find full-time jobs, 14 percent.

Since 83 percent of those who became teachers said their work was directly related to physical education, most probably taught physical education. Two-thirds of those in managerial occupations said their work was at least somewhat related to physical education.

Most of the graduates in occupations not generally requiring a degree for entry said their work was not related to their major. Political science had the second lowest proportion of graduates in the labor force, 71 percent. It also had the third highest graduate school enrollment rate.

None of the graduates were political scientists, which is understandable since an advanced degree is usually required to enter this occupation. Of those in managerial occupations, almost one-quarter said their work was closely related to political science. Occupations in management held by graduates covered a wide range, including management analyst; underwriter; and personnel, training, and labor relations specialist. Most of those in nonretail sales were employed in business services sales.

Most in occupations not generally requiring a degree said there was no relationship between their work and political science, although about one-half in administrative support occupations said a degree was necessary for their jobs. Some of the administrative support positions held were general office clerk, administrative support supervisor, records clerk, computer operator, and interviewer. Most of those in health-related, therapy and counseling occupations said there was a close relationship between their major and their job. The low percentage of psychologists is not surprising since an advanced degree is required for almost all jobs in the occupation. Psychology had among the highest rates of graduate school enrollment, 40 percent.

Those in managerial occupations were most often accountants; management analysts; buyers; and personnel, training, and labor relations specialists. More than two-thirds of those in managerial occupations said their jobs were at least somewhat related to psychology. Most of the social workers said their work was closely related to psychology.

Most of those in occupations not generally requiring a degree indicated that their work was unrelated to psychology. Occupations in administrative support held by psychology graduates included interview clerk, secretary, bank teller, clerical supervisor, and insurance adjuster. Two-thirds of those in service occupations, including health and nursing aides, indicated that their work was at least somewhat related to their major. Only 1 percent of the graduates said they were sociologists, which is understandable since an advanced degree is usually required to enter the occupation. Most of the social workers, counselors, and therapists said their work was closely related to their major.

Two-thirds of those in managerial occupations indicated that their work was at least somewhat related to sociology. All of those who were personnel, training, and labor relations specialists indicated that their work was closely related to sociology. Almost all of the others in professional specialty occupations were engineers, public relations workers, and technical writers. Some of those in nonretail sales were insurance sales workers.

Fifteen percent of those in occupations not generally requiring a degree for entry indicated that their jobs required a degree. Thirty-seven percent reported that their jobs were at least somewhat related to sociology.

Thomas A. Armirault is an economist in the Division of Occupational Outlook, BLS.
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Author:Amirault, Thomas A.
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Jun 22, 1990
Words:3048
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