How Rutgers Helped More of Its Graduates Find Success in 2023

The Scarlet Knight helps graduates celebrate at Rutgers' 258th anniversary commencement on Sunday, May 12.
The Scarlet Knight helps graduates celebrate at Rutgers' 258th anniversary commencement on Sunday, May 12.
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Career Exploration and Success has been tracking post-graduation outcomes for 10 years. The latest results show an overall career outcome rate of 89 percent. 

The results are in: More graduates from Rutgers University–New Brunswick are landing where they want to be. 

For the past 10 years, the Office of Career Exploration and Success (CES) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick has conducted a post-graduation survey of graduating students tracking career outcomes and other factors. 

The latest results from 2023 showed overall career outcome rates – which include employment, continued education, military service and volunteer or service programs – of 89 percent for undergraduate and graduate students and 88 percent for undergraduates only, the highest levels CES officials have seen since tracking the data. 

Post-Graduations Career Outcomes chart tracking results from 2019 to 2023.

“This is the first year that we saw a positive post-graduation career outcomes rate close to 90 percent,” said William Jones, the executive director of CES. “Our Class of 2023 has been the most successful class that we've seen in over a decade when it comes to post-graduation career outcomes – and it's all across the board regardless of academic program or other demographics.” 

Jones said 90 percent of all undergraduate students at Rutgers–New Brunswick were involved in an internship or some other form of field experience. 

“This class has the experiences that employers seek,” said Jones, adding that nearly 65 percent of those specifically reporting an internship stated that the role led to a full-time job offer. “The experience our students bring to the job market, their academic credentials and overall willingness to roll up their sleeves and get the job done are some of the reasons top Rutgers employers such as RWJBarnabas Health, Amazon, Lockheed Martin and Johnson & Johnson recruit from our campus.”

Jones said that at Rutgers–New Brunswick, helping students start their career journey begins on Day 1 with nearly 2,000 first-year, first-semester students taking one of the First-Year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS) provided by CES. The peer-instructed courses help students learn about resources available to them at Rutgers “through the lens of a career interest area,” he said. 

This class has the experiences that employers seek.

William Jones

Executive director of CES

CES officials conduct the surveys following standards and protocols of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a nonprofit professional organization. For example, Jones said the career outcomes percentage is defined by the association as the percentage of students who are either employed, furthering their education, serving in the military or volunteering. Another factor, graduates in their first-choice post-graduation activity, was at 80 percent, an increase from 58 percent in 2013. 

Other highlights from the 2023 results include: 

  • A knowledge rate (namely, the percent of graduates for which an institution has reasonable and verifiable information concerning the graduates' post-graduation career activities) of 80.4 percent, Rutgers–New Brunswick’s highest since CES began tracking results. 
  • The median starting salary is $70,000 ($80,000 for international students). According to NACE, the 2023 average salary projection across eight broad academic disciplines is $63,368. 
  • About 88 percent of individuals from the Class of 2023 completed at least one high-impact experience (internships, first-year seminars, service and community-based learning, undergraduate research, etc.) at Rutgers. 

The post-graduation success of Rutgers–New Brunswick students “is a major part of what we consider student success overall,” Jones said. “It is a combination of timely graduation with minimum debt, acquiring certain skills to succeed, and also post-graduation success.” 

Post-Graduation Salaries chart from 2019 to 2023.

“And it's something we saw across all schools,” said Barbara Thomson, the director of career operations and strategic initiatives at CES. “It wasn't just by one school that this happened.” 

“The Post-Graduation Survey is Rutgers’ primary source of information about where our graduates land in their first destination after graduation,” said Madeline Giordana, senior assistant director of career outcomes and assessment at CES. “We are very pleased that, through deep collaboration with academic leadership, we were able to reach a record high knowledge rate of 80 percent for the Class of 2023.” 

Data for the Class of 2023 survey was collected at times of graduation: August 2022, October 2022, January 2023 and May 2023. Results include self-reported responses from graduates within six months of graduation and information collected through public online data sources. 

Undergraduate and graduate students from the Class of 2023 were surveyed based on the major codes provided by their respective schools. Information on 9,344 graduates was compiled for the 2023 report, representing about 80.4 percent of the total graduates. 

As for COVID-19's impact on the job market, said Jones, the numbers suggest it has sharply lessened. 

“Certainly, we all know what happened in between those years: the pandemic, which led to a challenging job market as well,” he said. “But overall, our students are doing exceptionally well, even during tough times. They have the educational background, the experiences, as well as that sense of perseverance that serve them quite well in these challenging employment times. And employers are recognizing it, too.”