Cal Poly Career Services released its Graduate Status Report (GSR) for the class of 2016 this past week. The report summarizes a survey meant to gauge the success of Cal
Poly graduates.

The GSR includes information such as median starting income for each college and major where graduates end up working, whether students went on to attend graduate school and other indicators.

The most recent survey had a response rate of 54.3 percent, or 2,464 respondents out of 4,541 graduates. This was the highest response rate since the class of 2008.

However, only 43.2 percent of respondents who are employed full-time reported their income. This is an all-time low over the past decade, with the next lowest response rate for income being 68.5 percent for the class of 2009 cohort and the average between 2011 and 2015 being 85.6 percent.

According to the report, the proportion of respondents who reported positive post-graduation outcomes — full- or part-time employment or attendance at a graduate school — was higher for the class of 2016 than at any point since the class of 2008.

Approximately 92.6 percent of respondents reported positive outcomes — a 7.1 percent increase since the previous year. The remaining 7.4 percent of graduates are either seeking employment or  are unemployed and not seeking employment. Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong attributed this increase to Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing

“These latest figures further demonstrate that Cal Poly’s signature Learn by Doing method is a fast path to career success,” Armstrong said. “We continue to invest in hands-on, experiential learning because, quite simply, it works — for students, for employers and for the state of California and beyond.”

Of those who responded to the survey, 75 percent were employed full- or part-time. According to the report, of those who were employed, 67 percent found work before they graduated and 99 percent found work within nine months of graduating. Additionally, 96 percent of employed graduates were hired for jobs related to their major.

Cal Poly Graduate Employment Distribution 2016

Eighty-eight percent of employed graduates work in California, while 10 percent work elsewhere in the United States and two percent internationally. Top companies that hired Cal Poly graduates included Adobe, Apple, Boeing and Raytheon.

Median incomes for college graduates
When adjusted for inflation, the starting median salary of Cal Poly graduates increased by four percent from the class of 2015 to the class of 2016 from $57,680 to $60,000. This is after the adjusted median incomes of respondents decreased by 1.9 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Cal Poly Graduate Median Incomes 2007-16

Cal Poly graduate median incomes: 2007-16
The real incomes of recent Cal Poly graduates are at their highest point since the class of 2008 when respondents with full-time employment had an adjusted medium income of $60,320, or $52,000 adjusted for inflation.

The College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) saw the largest increase in median starting income over the past year from $41,200 to $48,000 in 2017 dollars. This was after median incomes decreased for COSAM graduates by 12.8 percent between 2014 and 2015. However, not all colleges’ graduates saw increases in their
real incomes.

The real median salary for College of Liberal Arts (CLA) graduates decreased by 2.9 percent between the classes of 2015 and 2016 from $46,350 to $45,000. Over the same period, the real median incomes for College of Engineering graduates decreased marginally from $70,040 to $70,000.

Highest Grossing Major by College

Highest grossing major by college
For the class of 2016, the college that produced graduates with the highest median income was College of Engineering at $70,000, followed by the Orfalea College of Business (OCOB) at $60,000 and the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at $55,200.

When including majors with five or more respondents who reported their income, the program with the highest post-graduation median income was software engineering at $100,000.

Graduate outcomes by gender
Across Cal Poly, the median income of female respondents in the class of 2016 was $10,960 less than that of male graduates. Within this cohort, the median income for female respondents who are now employed full-time was $54,040 and $65,000 for males.

The college with the largest disparity between female and male median incomes was the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) where the female median income was $42,000 and the male median income was $50,000.

Median incomes by college and gender

OCOB was the only college where there was no difference in the median income of males and females. For respondents in the class of 2016 graduating from OCOB who are now employed full-time, the median income was $60,000 regardless of gender.

Overall, female respondents in the class of 2016 were less likely to work full time than their male counterparts. Approximately 69.5 percent of female graduates reported working full time as opposed to 77.5 percent of male graduates.

Female respondents who graduated last year were more likely to go to graduate school than males in the same cohort. Overall, 21.8 percent of recent female graduates reported attending graduate school while 12.7 percent of males did so.

CAFES had the biggest disparity between the proportion of female and male respondents attending graduate school with a 13.1 percent difference. OCOB had the smallest with a 1.4 percent difference.

The only college where a higher proportion of male respondents reported attending graduate school was CLA. Within the college, 18.8 percent of male respondents reported doing so as opposed to 16.2 percent of females.

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