The percentage of Harvard seniors who plan on joining the workforce after graduation remained steady at two-thirds for the Class of 2011, according to The Harvard Crimson’s fifth annual senior survey.
The figure marks a significant drop from 2007, when 73.2 percent of graduates had accepted job offers by Commencement day.
Education surpassed finance and consulting this year as the most popular sector among respondents entering the workforce, with 11.4 percent choosing to enter the field—likely reflecting the success of programs such as Teach for America, which recruits aggressively on campus and reported in March that 18 percent of this year’s class had applied to its two-year teaching program.
The percentage of seniors surveyed entering finance and consulting fell from 47 percent in 2007 to a low of 20 percent in 2009, when Wall Street firms slashed hiring in the midst of the financial crisis. The share of this year’s seniors entering these sectors was similar to 2009 levels, with 11.2 percent entering consulting and 10.5 percent entering the financial sector.
The percentage of seniors heading to graduate school held steady from last year at a quarter of the class, with a combined 14 percent attending medical school or graduate programs for the sciences.
As in previous years, Harvard seniors entering the top employment sectors reported that they would choose another field if salary were not a concern. Half the students planning to work in finance or consulting said they would have chosen different fields. A career in the arts was the most popular dream job, with 15.7 percent of seniors indicating their interest. Public service and health services were also popular choices if financial concerns were not a factor.
More than 20 percent of seniors, excluding those not entering the workforce, will be making under $30,000 next year, and roughly another 20 percent will be earning between $30,000 and $49,000. The remaining 30 percent will bring in more than $50,000. The median base salary for those entering finance and consulting is between $70,000 and $89,000, and the median income for those entering the technology sector is between $50,000 and $69,000.
New York beat out Boston as the post-graduate destination of choice for Harvard seniors, drawing 23.1 percent of the class. Boston will keep 19.4 percent of the Class of 2011, falling from 24.4 percent of seniors last year. About a tenth of the class will be heading to California, and nearly 7 percent will move to Washington, D.C. Around 19 percent of seniors will be moving outside the United States next year.
The Crimson’s survey of the Class of 2011 was conducted through a secure website that ensured only one response per senior. More than 500 members of the Class of 2011 responded to the survey between May 13 and May 18, 2011. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
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