|Credit: Chemical and Engineering News, "Starting Salaries"|
In the most recent American Chemical Society survey of new graduates in chemistry and related fields, 13% of respondents were not employed but were actively seeking jobs last year, up from 11% of those who responded to the 2010 survey. Another 41% of respondents—down slightly from 44% in 2010—opted to pursue additional education or do a postdoc.
For the 35% of new graduates who did find full-time jobs last year, there was some additional good news related to their paychecks—at least for those with a Ph.D. The median salary of inexperienced Ph.D. graduates was $85,000, a 13% jump from 2010, the first increase since 2008 for this group. The news was not as good for inexperienced master’s or bachelor’s degree graduates—starting median salaries for master’s degree graduates were up 4% in 2011 to $46,700, and starting salaries for bachelor’s degree grads held at $40,000...
[snip] New graduates continued to feel the effects of the recession in 2011 as the unemployment rate for all degree levels rose. For bachelor’s degree recipients, 14% reported they didn’t have a job but were seeking one, up from 12% in 2010. Nine percent of Ph.D. earners said they were looking for a job in 2011, up from 6% in 2010. But the biggest jump was for those graduating with master’s degrees. Those seeking employment in this group grew from 11% in 2010 to 18% in 2011. The increases were essentially the same for both chemists and chemical engineers at each degree level.[I know I keep saying this.] We're going to come back to the 2012 Starting Salary Survey. I think these numbers are really pretty disturbing. What the headline numbers tell me is this: across all educational levels, less than half of new graduates are working. Also, look at the "not employed" numbers for bachelor's, master's and doctoral-level graduates: 17%, 23% and 12%. Those are big, big numbers.
P.S. It's time for the Eka-Silicon caveat, brought to you by Ms. Morrissey's article: "More than 11,733 recent graduates were sent surveys, and 2,051 usable responses were returned for a response rate of 17%. (emphasis CJ's) The respondents represent many cohorts—degree level, field of study, gender, experience level, type of employment, and other—and for some groups, the number of respondents is small and thus likely not representative."
A 17% response rate is not very high, and limits our ability to extrapolate conclusions from it.