Graduating seniors face good job prospects

Heath Hutcheson, Campus Carrier staff writer

As the graduation day approaches for the senior class, many are wondering about how the job prospects are looking this year as well as graduation numbers.

Marc Hunsaker, dean of personal and professional development, shared some information about how exactly the data collection works at his department and discussed what the analytics have shown.

“So, in this thing called the first destination survey, we start polling students as part of the graduation survey, which seniors are taking right now,” Hunsaker said.

Graduation surveys do not appear to be common practice across higher education, according to Mike Burnes, director of LifeWorks operations and analytics. 

“Most schools don’t do a graduation survey,” Burnes said. 

The first destination survey makes up a small part of their overall process for determining successful career outcome rates. For each graduating class, it will begin with that survey at around this time of the year, but the students will continue to be checked in on until the end of          the year.

“For the past three years, 99% of Berry graduates have gone on to experience a positive career outcome, meaning they’re working full time, working at an internship, continuing their education, starting a business, or pursuing other commitments, like entering the military or volunteer work,” Hunsaker said.

Hunsaker seems extremely pleased with the numbers that Berry has been seeing these past few years. He said that when compared to some other schools, Berry seems to be doing a great job in this area.

“It’s pretty difficult to improve upon 99%,” Hunsaker said.

In addition to the career outcome rates, there is another statistic, knowledge rate.

“Knowledge rate refers to what we know about the percentage of a graduating class. At Berry, our knowledge rate is almost 90% though, so it is also exceptionally high,” Hunsaker said.

Both statistics are taken into consideration when calculating the overall career success rate for a school. In order to keep up with students and obtain more “knowledge” about where they are, the department will turn to reliable sources such as family members and faculty.

“Our students are actually doing better than a lot of other schools are,” Hunsaker said. “For some other schools, the higher their knowledge rate, the lower their success rate will be. For us though, we’re happy to know because our students tend to do so well.”

Hunsaker also stated that he thinks this graduating class should be experiencing similarly high numbers to previous years.

“This year looks to be a strong hiring market. I would be surprised if we weren’t in the same ballpark as we have been the last few years both for knowledge and career outcome rates,” Hunsaker said.

Despite some of the ramifications that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the job market in recent years, it actually may be easier to get a job now than one might expect, which may provide some hope for up and coming students.

“This is a good market to go into because the unemployment rate is low and at the same time, the labor force participation rate is also lower than it has been in a while, meaning there are a lot more jobs that are open,” Burnes said.

Hunsaker also touched on some of the department’s plans for improving even further in the future.

“We’re trying to work on establishing more pipelines this year,” Hunsaker said. “We have some great connections right now, but we would like to establish more because they have potential to really bear some fruit.”

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