As was the case with bachelor’s level outcomes, the employment outcomes for graduates earning master’s degrees declined, but average salaries increased in 2020 in comparison with 2019, according to NACE’s First Destinations for the College Class of 2020.
Overall full-time employment declined from 75.5% for the Class of 2019 to 72.5% for the Class of 2020. Full-time employment in standard employment settings dropped a bit more—from 69.4% in 2019 to 66.0% in 2020.
Meanwhile, the average starting salary of those master’s graduates who did have full-time positions increased in 2020. The increase in the mean starting salary was 3.3% ($69,054 to $71,339); the increase in the median starting salary was 2.9% ($62,127 to $63,925).
First Destinations for the College Class of 2020 is available on NACEWeb and includes an interactive dashboard. It is the seventh in a series that began with the college class of 2014. The 2020 class year is defined as extending from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020. The survey for the class was conducted through individual colleges and universities nationwide, which then reported their results to NACE. The schools conducted the survey from graduation through December 30, 2020, and reported their data to NACE from January 6 through April 30, 2021. All data in the report are as of December 30, 2020. In total, NACE received reports from 342 schools; they reported outcomes for graduating classes totaling more than 757,000 students in four degree programs—associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral-level programs. Results for previous classes can be accessed on the NACE website.