The Class of 2020 did not have access to live job fairs, like this one in 2019.
How did they do?
Graduating into a pandemic, the Class of 2020 faced unusual challenges—and maybe did better than expected.
As they graduated into the first global pandemic in 100 years, members of the Class of 2020 eyed an economy disrupted by lockdowns and travel restrictions. A survey shows they indeed faced a more difficult launch, as employers froze hiring or delayed decisions.
A poll of last May’s graduates found that members of the Covid generation were less likely than previous classes to leave college with a job offer and more likely to stay in school. This was especially true for graduates of the Case School of Engineering.
About 56 percent of CES students reported accepting a full-time job near graduation last May. That’s down from a 63 percent job-acceptance rate for the Class of 2019. Meanwhile, 38% of engineering majors opted to go on to graduate school, significantly more than the 29 percent of the Class of 2019 who pursued an advanced degree.
Overall, 49 percent of CWRU 2020 graduates found full-time employment, compared to 54 percent in 2019 and 2018 and 53 percent in 2017. (The five-year average is 52 percent).
That insight comes from the First Destination Survey, the annual poll of graduating seniors by the office of Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education. Every year since 2004, the career services office has surveyed classes to assess their first steps, or destinations, with their CWRU degrees.
Office director Drew Poppleton took an optimistic view of the latest findings.
“The Class of 2020 had the unenviable distinction of graduating into a global pandemic unlike anything we or they have ever seen,” he told The Daily, CWRU’s online news source. “The ground upon graduation couldn’t have been shakier or the outlook more uncertain. And yet, to look at these results—what this class has achieved—you’d never know these were the circumstances under which they launched their post-graduate plans.”
The majority of graduates reported finding what they were looking for, whether that be a full-time job or admission to graduate school, he noted. Only 4 percent of the undergraduate class reported being available for employment six months after graduation—the lowest percentage since the annual survey began, he said.
“This figure speaks not only to the resiliency and determination of our students, but also to the quality and durability of a CWRU education,” Poppleton added.
Information in the First Destination Survey report reflects the outcomes for 84 percent of 1,143 graduates. Data was collected through surveys sent to members of the Class of 2020, posts on social media and conversations with faculty and staff. Because this is a survey of students earning bachelor’s degrees, the School of Medicine is not included.
Here are other key findings from the report:
• Engineering was the top career path, netting 37 percent of CWRU graduates; followed by research at 11 percent and nursing at 10 percent
• The top employers of Case engineers were ABB Group, Accenture, Amazon, Deloitte, Epic, General Electric, General Motors, Microsoft, Precision Castparts, Procter & Gamble, Rockwell Automation, Raytheon, RoviSys and Swagelok
• CWRU graduates overall reported a median starting salary range of $65,999-$69,999, consistent with the Class of 2019
• Graduates of the Case School of Engineering again enjoyed the highest median starting salary range, $70,000 to $74,999
• Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences attracted the lowest starting median, $40,000-$44,999, a $5,000 decrease from last year
• While 56% of CSE graduates found full-time jobs, and 38% went on to graduate school, 5% were “still available for employment” six months after graduation
Find reports for each CWRU school and college HERE.