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Class of 2021 enters job market, pursues alternate opportunities

| Friday, May 21, 2021

While complete data on career paths for the Class of 2021 is not yet available, early responders to the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development’s first destination survey indicate trends similar to previous classes.

If the data continues to follow historical patterns, two-thirds of the graduating class will pursue employment, 20 percent will pursue higher education, attending law school, medical school or other graduate programs, seven percent will engage in service, two percent will serve in the military and other students will pursue independent projects such as professional athletics or other opportunities.

Maggie Eastland | The Observer
The data in this graph is based off of historical trends for Notre Dame seniors and first responses to the career survey. First destination data will continue to be collected throughout the week of May 18.

Ryan Willerton, associate vice president for Career and Professional Development said in a media report sent to The Observer that this year’s graduates reflect Notre Dame students’ wide range of talents and interests, highlighting how graduates were not bound to their major when seeking employment.

“Graduating from Notre Dame is more than just recognition of hard work in an academic major,” Willerton said. “Many of our students have found their careers through networking conversations, mentorship, and diving deep into their academic minors. Notre Dame’s holistic approach to education is manifested in the variety of paths are students are taking. Many of our most popular career paths, such as financial services, consulting, and data analytics are pursued by students from all academic colleges, not just a particular major.”

Willerton also noted that many Notre Dame seniors have secured jobs working for industry leaders like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing and top consulting, accounting and financial services firms.

In addition to positions at these highly desired companies, Willerton said many Notre Dame seniors followed strong pipelines to Epic Systems, Carrier Global, Ford, DaVita, Protiviti and Procter & Gamble.

Those pursuing higher education will study at top institutions, pursuing doctoral degrees from Yale and Stanford; law degrees from Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, New York University (NYU), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Chicago and medical degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, Indiana University, Louisiana State University (LSU), Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northwestern University and University of Pittsburgh.

Finally, seniors planning on completing service work after graduation will complete programs through the  Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity and Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Willerton said.

Despite overall consistency with prior Notre Dame classes, COVID did affect the type of post-graduation work recent graduates will begin.

Namely, 15 percent of graduates with positions will work hybrid jobs, partially in person and partially remote, and 40 percent will begin work virtually before transitioning to in-person. Comparatively, only 10 percent will start their employment in person, according to the Center for Career Development media report.

Adding to the uncertainty, the reported noted that 30 percent of employed graduates have not received finalized plans from their employers regarding whether their positions will be remote, in-person or hybrid.

Considering these unknowns, Willerton said career planning has changed due to COVID, but career outcomes have remained stable, in part due to guidance provided by the Career Center.

“COVID-19 has certainly affected student career planning over the last 15 months. The job market is stable for most career paths,” Willerton said. “At the Center for Career Development, our advice for students is to focus on their skills and networking. Studies indicated that more than half of jobs (and in some industries, up to 70%) are found through networking.”

Given the difficulties of career planning during COVID-19, the Center for Career Development launched a new initiative this year — Talent Showcase. Willerton said the online database features graduating seniors and graduate students seeking employment. Already, many students have received job referrals and job offers from this site, he said.

For current and future graduates, Willerton encourages networking and building a convincing narrative with assistance from the Center for Career Development.

“The vast majority of Notre Dame’s academic programs will prepare students for success — the key is to find ways to build a professional network and then tell a compelling story of your skills and how you can leverage your experiences over the last few years to benefit prospective employers,” he said. “Our career counselors are here to help.“

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