JOB NEWS: How Likely Are You to Find Work in Your Major?

Survey Sheds Light on How the Choice of Major Can Impact Career Prospects

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Course Hero, an online learning platform, announced findings from a survey centered around college majors and careers. The data, acquired from an independent survey of more than 2,000 college graduates, reveals correlations between majors and employability, job satisfaction, stability and more.

"A degree is not just a degree - what that degree is in can make a big difference in your future career prospects," said Andrew Grauer, founder and CEO of Course Hero. "Course Hero's survey reveals striking disparities in employment and job satisfaction rates between majors. Moreover, it also revealed that only 16 percent of college graduates would choose the same major if given the chance to do it all over again."

The Gender Divide Starts on Graduation Day
When asked to classify their first job, women were significantly more likely than men to say their first job was entry level (62 percent vs. 50 percent). By the same token, 10 percent of male respondents categorized their first job as "manager" compared with five percent of females.

In the Race for the Paycheck, Architects and Engineers Take an Early Lead
Among all respondents, fewer than half (40 percent) said they had a job lined up upon graduating. Odds were significantly better for those who majored in Architecture or Planning (54 percent), Engineering (50 percent), Business or Finance (48 percent), or Computer Science (48 percent).

Eighty-one percent of respondents had secured work within six months of graduating. Still, some majors continued to have widespread unemployment. Twenty-nine percent of English or Literature majors reported taking six months or longer to find work, as did 25 percent of Communications majors, 21 percent of Arts majors, 21 percent of Social Sciences majors, and 20 percent of History or Political Science majors.

Math Majors May Want to Recalculate
The current employment rate among all respondents was 86 percent. Among Mathematics majors, however, employment dipped to 76 percent – the lowest among all majors surveyed.

By contrast, current employment rates amongst these majors were significantly higher:

  • Architecture or Planning (96 percent)
  • Physical or Environmental Sciences (95 percent)
  • Communications (93 percent)
  • Business or Finance (89 percent)

If Students Could Do It All Again … They'd Probably Choose a Different Major
When asked if their dream job is closely related to their major, a full third (36 percent) of respondents disagreed. Disagreement was highest among History or Political Science majors (47 percent), Criminal Justice majors (44 percent), Social Sciences majors (44 percent), and Business or Finance majors (43 percent). Moreover, only 16 percent of respondents said they'd choose the same major if they could do it all over again.

"Among our most interesting findings was the overall hopefulness reported by college graduates," continued Grauer. "Despite the relatively low rates of job satisfaction, 73 percent of graduates still said they believe they will find their dream job someday."

Methodology overview: the online survey, conducted by Survata from June 5 to 16, 2017, polled 2,005 people that obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher between 2007 and 2017.

*Percentages are rounded to the closest whole number. 

SOURCE Course Hero