Does students’ view of the future depend on their major? Survey says yes

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Students are quite optimistic about their chances of finding a job, but the degree of optimism varied according to their career.

Photo: Bigstock

Are graduates confident about their employability, especially in their field? How long do they think it’ll take them to meet their salary expectations? Do they think they’ll be better off than their parents? 

Cengage wanted to answer this and many more questions, so they surveyed 2,500 recent and upcoming graduates to measure 17 different indicators. These indicators fell into four categories: employment, economic, social, and personal well-being.

According to the survey, graduates have less than 70% chance of working in their field (the percentage varies depending on the area of study). Students face the decision of choosing either earning opportunities or doing what they love. Still, graduates are optimistic; 93% reported they expect to find a job related to their area in the first six months after graduating.

Students are optimistic, 67% of respondents hope to meet their salary expectations within a year. About 88% of them believe the number of available jobs in their field of study will increase in the next two years. Still, this optimism depends on their major: 92% of STEM graduates think that jobs will grow in their area in the next two years, compared to only 77% in Humanities and Social Sciences.

When it comes to non-monetary rewards, on average, 28% of students report having jobs that balance work-life pressure. Moreover, only 25% said they have an enjoyable work culture, and 23% said that they expect more opportunities for growth in their careers. Nevertheless, it all depends on their major, those in business expect a 29% growth, compared to just 16% in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Even though students and recent graduates don’t seem to have the best work-life balance, they remain positive. About 82% of the respondents said they were optimistic about their future.

Educators and employers can help them reach a hopeful future by teaching them soft skills because it will prepare them for life after graduation. Also, they must make them discuss the impact of their lifestyle choices so they can know what is essential for them: a high salary or life-work balance? This will help them identify opportunities that align better with their goals. 

Likewise, students should learn to build self-confidence so they can recognize their potential and perform better under pressure. Lastly, educators need to help students and recent graduates keep learning. Either through alternative credentials, courses, or workshops, it is essential to remind them that there are affordable options to keep learning and preparing for the workforce.