When all levels are combined, chemical engineering accounted
for 8.6% of degrees.
Although the data show a small drop in the overall percentage of unemployed job seekers, the size of that decrease varied by
degree level. For Ph.D. graduates, the overall unemployment level
reported was 8.1%, with 7.5% of respondents saying they were
actively looking for work as compared with 8.8% looking in 2011.
And for bachelor’s degree earners, nearly 18% of respondents were
unemployed and 13.4% were actively job hunting, down from
13.6% in 2011. The big change was among those earning master’s
degrees: 11.0% reported being unemployed. But only 9.6% were
seeking employment in 2012, far below the 17.8% who were looking in 2011. However, the number of respondents in this category
Another sign that the job market may be improving is that
the number of graduates pursuing advanced study was down
slightly for bachelor’s degree earners, meaning a few more graduates were opting to enter the job market. Of bachelor’s degree
earners, 39.1% said they planned to continue their education
immediately after receiving their degree. This
is down from 41.1% in 2011. But the statistics
for those earning a master’s degree in 2012
can be interpreted less optimistically. A third of
respondents in this group said they planned to
continue their studies, up from 22.0% in 2011.
The top fields for those with bachelor’s
degrees opting to continue their studies include
chemistry (30.7%), medicine ( 25.5%), and
pharmacology ( 12.8%). Two-thirds of master’s
degree recipients said they planned to study
The percentage of Ph.D.s who took a postdoctoral position after completing their degree
was down. Some 40.6% of respondents indicated they would be doing a postdoc, whereas
in 2011, 46.9% pursued this option.
Regardless of work experience, for those who decided to enter
the job market and found a job, the median starting salary for
most categories in 2012 was flat or down from 2011 values. The
largest change was for new Ph.D.s, who saw starting salaries
drop to $75,000 in 2012 from $85,000 the previous year. For
those earning master’s degrees, the reported median starting
salary fell from $55,000 in 2011 to $49,500 in 2012. Starting
salaries for bachelor’s degree earners held flat at $40,000.
The survey data also provided mixed results about the correlation between median salary and experience levels.
At the bachelor’s degree
level, experience did
not matter, whereas for
hires with new master’s
degrees, more experience
meant more money in
their paycheck. The outlier here is the reported
STARTING SALARIES OF INEXPERIENCED GRADS
Constant-dollar salaries for M.S. degree earners grew slightly,
while those for Ph.D.s and bachelor’s degree earners fell
B.A./B.S. M.S. PH.D.
$Thousands Current Constant Current Constant Current Constant
2005 $37.0 $37.0 $52.0 $52.0 $75.0 $75.0
2006 38.0 36.8 48.8 47.3 66.5 64.4
2007 40.2 37.9 52.0 49.0 77.0 72.5
2008 40.0 36.3 52.0 47.2 80.0 72.6
2009 38.0 34.6 60.0 54.6 76.3 69.4
2010 40.0 35.8 45.0 40.3 75.0 67.2
NOTE: Median annual salaries of responding new graduates with full-time permanent
employment and less than 12 months of technical work experience prior to graduation. Constant
dollars are 2005 dollars and are calculated using the Consumer Price Index.
SALARIES BY PRIMARY WORK FUNCTION
Men’s salaries were higher than women’s
in all functions
Thousands Men Women All
Development/design $60.1 $55.0 $60.0
Management 58.0 41.5 55.0
Professional services 54.5 53.8 54.5
Research 45.0 40.0 42.0
Production/quality control 45.0 36.0 40.0
Teaching 39.7 37.5 39.0
NOTE: Median salaries for responding 2012 bachelor’s degree graduates
with full-time permanent employment.
studies in a variety of areas
Field of Further Study B.A./B.S.
Other sciences 31
Life sciences 4
NOTE: Percentages are of respondents
who were continuing advanced studies full-time after earning a bachelor’s degree in a
chemical field in 2012. Numbers may not
sum to subtotals, or total 100%, because of
rounding. a Includes business management,
education, and law.
WHERE THE JOBS ARE
Nearly half of respondents were
hired into academia
B.A./B.S. M.S. PH.D.
Academia 41% 51% 55%
Chemical industry 21 20 17
Pharmaceuticals 59 2
10 2 6
16 14 9
Government 7 4 11
Self-employed 20 0
NOTE: Percentages are for all responding 2012 graduates
with full- or part-time employment. Numbers may not sum
to 100% because of rounding. Table contains some data
derived from sample sizes too small to generalize.