Area of study of Utah college grads vs. industry where employed

Did you know many college graduates enter a different industry than their major? It’s not always a linear relationship between degree and workplace; in fact, the reality of employment post-graduation is much more dynamic than that.

After all, a college degree provides graduates with much more than just skills in their particular field: It also helps them develop the cognitive and soft skills needed to succeed in many varied areas of the workforce. Although a degree in a specific field is sometimes a job requirement, many managers look to those from different backgrounds to add creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to their workplaces.

For example, many tech CEOs are interested in hiring those with liberal arts degrees, citing the degree holder’s ability to thrive in subjectivity and ambiguity, a necessary skill in the tech world where few things are black and white. Employees with different majors and backgrounds are able to contribute multiple, diverse perspectives to the workplace, which leads to creative problem-solving and innovation.

Some interesting data to note are:

  • In 2012, more graduates were hired from USHE institutions in healthcare and social assistance than any other profession.
  • In 2012, there were 1,328 education graduates throughout Utah hired into education services.
  • From 2008-2012, the number of engineering graduates in Utah hired into manufacturing has gone from 178 to 231.
  • In 2008, there were 49 graduates in math and statistics, all of which were hired into educational services. In 2012, there were 76 graduates hired into three different professions.

The interactive chart below illustrates the industries in which USHE graduates are employed.  This data is compiled through USHE’s partnership with the Utah Data Alliance.

Note: Industry definitions are from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics and do not necessarily include all sectors of employment in Utah. The data is based on employment one-year post graduation. Counts of less than 10 individuals within a specific industry are not displayed. There are a significant number of graduates of Utah public institutions for whom their employment status is unknown – they are unemployed, employed out of state, or a connection to the industry in which they are employed is unknown.

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Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director