The placement rate for graduates of Purdue University's College of Agriculture has increased for the second consecutive year as they continue to achieve success in landing a job and advancing their education.
Eighty-six percent of May 2011 graduates, or 336, found employment, enrolled in graduate or professional schools or accepted an employed internship as of Feb. 1, according to a College of Agriculture survey in which 391 undergraduates reported their post-graduate activity. That placement rate compares with 85 percent in 2010 and 83 percent in 2009.
Despite today's economic conditions, few students in the college's programs are facing difficulty in getting placed, said Marcos Fernandez, associate dean and director of academic programs.
"Purdue Agriculture students continue to fare well in today's job market, despite a slow economy, because agriculture and related sectors in Indiana and across the country have jobs to fill, and Purdue graduates are sought and in demand," he said. "Over the coming years, the job market for our graduates will continue to remain strong and rewarding."
Fifty-nine percent of graduates responding to the survey indicated they had obtained a full-time position. The success rate has climbed each year since 2009, when 48 percent reported finding jobs as the nation's recession was in full throes. It increased to 55 percent in 2010.
The survey also showed a decline in the percentage of graduates who were still seeking employment as of Feb. 1. There were 15 percent in 2009, 14 percent in 2010 and 12 percent last year. Two percent of May 2011 graduates said they were not looking for a job.
Many graduates decide to continue their education by pursuing master's or doctoral degrees in their discipline or by enrolling in professional schools such as medical, veterinary and law schools. The percentage of graduates electing to do that since 2007 has ranged from 22 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2009. Twenty-three percent of May 2011 students took that route.
The report was produced as the college prepares for its spring career fair Feb. 21 in Pfendler Hall on the Purdue campus. It offers students and employers the opportunity to meet in one place to share information and discuss internship and full-time job possibilities.
Purdue's College of Agriculture includes diverse areas of study, with departments in agricultural and biological engineering; agricultural economics; agronomy; animal sciences; biochemistry; botany and plant pathology; entomology; food science; forestry and natural resources; horticulture and landscape architecture; and youth development and agricultural education.
A survey of undergraduates at Purdue and 13 other land-grant universities during the 2010-11 academic year showed that the average starting annual salary among undergraduates in agriculture and the related professions was $38,104, with the highest in food science at $43,953. That was followed by agricultural and biological engineering at $42,356 and agricultural economics at $42,026.
Landscape architecture was not represented in the survey because not all of the institutions have that program. Purdue graduates reported an average salary of $42,561.