More graduates are walking out of college and into a job in their field, according to a recent survey. The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that companies plan to hire nearly 9% more graduates from the class of 2014 than they did last year.
In Iowa, it appears college grads who are pursuing careers in agriculture are having the best luck finding work. Mike Gaul is director of Iowa State University’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “College is a big investment and anytime you look at investment, you look at the return on that investment. In terms of a prosperous career, right now, agriculture is king,” Gaul says.
A whopping 98-percent of graduates from the ISU College of Ag and Life Sciences are “placed” within six months of graduation. Gaul says that figure includes students who are pursuing further education, such as veterinary school, and those who have military obligations.
ISU’s College of Ag and Life Sciences graduated its largest class ever, around 600 students, on May 10. Gaul says the primary major for 75 of those grads was Agriculture Business. “I think 69 of them have jobs…for a 90-plus-percent at-graduation placement rate,” Gaul says. “I guarantee you, there are very few majors in this country that can claim that type of success.”
Gaul says there are a wide array of jobs available today under the umbrella of agriculture and new graduates are filling those jobs. “When we look at a few of the majors out there, such as Ag Business, Agronomy, Food Science…really, a lot of those majors there, I would almost put on the verge of being no-brainer type job markets for students who put forth any motivation with their job search at all,” Gaul says. “It’s just that strong.” Gaul says many of his graduates are entering jobs with starting salaries of $50,000 to $60,000.