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Survey: Most UMD graduates working in their field

The majority of graduates of the University of Minnesota Duluth continue to find jobs in their area of study, the results of an annual survey show.

Eighty-five percent of surveyed graduates from the 2014-15 school year are employed, although only 65 percent in a field directly related to their degree. Another 12 percent are continuing their education, leaving just 3 percent of graduates seeking a job.

The results show the value of a degree from UMD, Chancellor Lynn Black said, and give good reason for those wanting "to get an education right now."

"Especially in this environment we're in right now of high costs, which we're all concerned about," he said. "Having a clear demonstration of the value of a UMD degree is very important."

The percentage of employed graduates is a 1 percent increase from the year prior and a 3 percent increase from 2012-13.

New this year was a survey of 2014-15 graduates with master's and doctorate degrees, of which 88 percent were employed.

Standing out this year was a small increase in the number of graduates who had had internships, said Janet Pribyl, assistant director of career and internship services at UMD.

"That does help when they are going out and looking for work," she said. "It's real-life experiences they can put on their resume and proof to employers they can do the work they are seeking to do."

The lower rate of graduates working directly in their field isn't surprising, Black said.

Some areas — such as engineering and other sciences — offer a narrower range of careers. But liberal- and fine-arts majors prepare students for a wider range of job opportunities, he said.

Pribyl said students from the College of Liberal Arts, for example, leave UMD with sought-after "soft skills."

Those include communication, decision-making, problem-solving and planning skills, and the ability to work on a team, she said.

"All of those are things businesses are seeking and those students in liberal arts are gaining," she said.

Less than half of surveyed graduates from that college are working in a field directly related to their studies. Teaching majors had the highest percentage of that measure at 86 percent.

The survey shows a number of graduates working as servers and sales clerks, which can function as door-opening jobs, some career counselors say, and also many like the English major who is a case manager for Duluth's Arrowhead Psychological Clinic, for example.

The average salary for a graduate of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics is $45,000, with a range between $18,720 and $100,000. The average for the School of Fine Arts is $31,200, with a range of about $19,000 and $57,000.

Participation for the undergraduate survey was 90 percent, with 1,715 respondents. The graduate survey garnered 232 responses, or 91 percent participation.