Each spring* the MLS program conducts a placement survey of recent graduates in which we ask graduates to tell us about their post-graduate experiences; specifically for their current place of employment, type of industry, geographic location, as well as the skills they saw as most valuable for their current and future positions. In March/April 2015, the MLS Program surveyed alumni who graduated during the 2013-2014 academic year. This year the survey had a 29% response rate, which in surveyland is pretty darn good. Below are some key findings from the survey, including a handy infographic.
What are our grads up to?
Our survey indicates that once again iSchool graduates are doing well in their searches. 73% were employed within the first year after graduation; of those, 79% were employed in a field directly related to their degree. Once again, academia/higher education made up the largest employment sector followed by public libraries, government institutions, and nonprofits.
Reflecting the diverse nature of information services, graduates are employed in a wide-rage of settings, including:
- Governmental Institutions: Department of Planning and Natural Resources, US Virgin Islands; National Guard Educational Foundation; Smithsonian
- Colleges/Universities: University of Wyoming; University of Maryland; Strayer University
- Nonprofits: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Howard County Historical Society
- Public Libraries: Enoch Pratt Free Libraries; Frederick County; Baltimore County Public Libraries
No matter the setting, respondents indicated that the most valuable skills for their positions are (in this order): flexibility, communication, interpersonal skills—including collaboration and team work—(yes, there is a reason we make you do so much group work), and analytical skills. These responses also reflect what we heard throughout our “Re-Envisioning the MLS” sessions throughout the year. In particular the May 4 event with incoming ALA President Sari Feldman when she and our panelists indicated that “’musts’ when considering hiring included flexibility and adaptability; impromptu problem solving skills; a “yes” mindset; a desire to constantly learn; clear communication skills, and a willingness to “own” a space — that is take on leadership.”
As part of our ongoing effort to respond to the needs of our students, employers, and the information field, we also asked our recent grads what skills they’d like to have developed further and what sorts of courses/programming they would have liked during their studies. We’re currently reviewing the survey results as well as the information we gathered during our Re-Envisioning the MLS sessions and working on a report with recommendations. Next year will be spent examining the program and the curriculum and having discussions with current employers, and as always we’ll work to incorporate our results into the curriculum and programming. Stay tuned to blogMLS for more on…
*View last year’s report here: http://mls.umd.edu/2014/06/one-year-later-mls-job-placement-report/