In spite of an uncertain job market and a fragile economy, most Penn graduates have seen rising salaries and improved career prospects.
2011 College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Science graduates saw significant salary increases over their 2010 peers. The average College graduate salary, calculated as a mean, rose by 7 percent.
The typical Engineering salary was $68,814, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year.
The average salary of a Wharton School graduate also rose by nearly $3,000, while mean pay for School of Nursing graduates dropped by nearly $4,000 to $56,665.
According to the annual Career Plans Survey, released in stages by Career Services in December and January, more than half of graduates entering the work force will also receive bonuses in addition to their base salaries. This statistic for Nursing graduates was not released.
Among College students, choice of industry remains a principal determinant of starting salary. While College graduates entering fields such as financial services earned $66,698 on average, those pursuing careers in social service typically made only $27,632.
According to Patricia Rose, director of Career Services, the broad range of careers College graduates are following also explains the salary gap with Wharton and Engineering graduates, who typically pursue careers in more lucrative fields such as finance and technology.
“The wonderful thing about the College is that students are pursuing all these different fields,” she said. “But if you go into fields such as education, for example, expect your starting salary to be lower.” She added that a comparison between College graduates in financial services and Wharton graduates would be fairer, since “almost everyone in Wharton is going into financial services.”
Top employers for 2011 College graduates included Teach for America, University of Pennsylvania and traditional banking and consulting firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Boston Consulting Group.
Among last year’s Engineering graduates, choice of job also affected starting pay. Information Technology program managers, typically earned $100,500, while those involved in design received $57,000 on average. The survey for Engineering students was based on a 95 percent response rate.
College students pursuing dual-degrees continue to benefit from salary premiums. College and Wharton dual-degree graduates earned roughly $20,000 more on average than those with only College degrees. Engineering graduates who pursued dual degrees with Wharton typically earned $3,000 more than single degree Engineering graduates.
One-third of all Penn graduates entering the workforce found work in financial services, while nearly one-fifth entered the consulting industry.
The survey for Nursing, based on an 85 percent response rate, revealed that the Class of 2011 continued to face a challenging job market. It cited budget cuts and the return of experienced nurses to hospitals as factors impacting hiring practices. Top employers for Nursing graduates were Penn-affiliated hospitals.
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