By Olivia Covington
Despite declines in job opportunities in certain fields, the college had more than a 75 percent placement rate last year in nearly each of its majors.
At the end of each academic year, Director of Career Services Kirk Bixler sends a survey to graduates asking them which post-grad path they’ve chosen to follow: full-time employment, graduate school, part-time employment, still seeking a job or “other.”
Bixler said “other” employment includes people who may not be actively seeking a job or who have chosen to stay at home with their families.
Ann Barton, assistant director of the Pulliam School of Journalism, said the survey counts all employment, whether it’s in a student’s field of study or not.
In the 2014 survey, history was the only major that had no students placed in a full-time employment position.
Conversely, six majors saw a 100 percent full-time employment placement rate last year: accounting, business, computer information systems and computer science, elementary education, physical education K-12 and philosophy.
These placement rates share similarities with the overall job growth rates in the national economy.
While the number of jobs for historians is expected to grow by only 6 percent in the next seven years — which is considered lower than average by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — jobs in computing and research scientists are expected to see a 15 percent growth.
Jobs in the elementary education market are expected to grow by an average rate of 12 percent, according to government statistics.
Professor positions — which are often filled by philosophy majors — will see an increase of 19 percent, which is faster than average, according to the Bureau.
However, Bixler’s survey indicates that students don’t necessarily consider these statistics when picking a major.
While there were 16 graduates from the elementary education department in 2014 — an area seeing moderate growth — there were only nine computer science majors, which experts say is an area with an abundance of jobs.
“Demand for software science and computing majors is much higher than the rate of graduating students,” said Robert Beasley, professor of computing. “Because of the high demand and the low number of graduates, almost all the students have jobs lined up before they graduate.”
Beasley said most computing majors earn a starting salary of $50,000 to $60,0000.
Beasley said he thinks the reason students avoid studying these fields is because they are afraid of the workload.
“I think a lot of people avoid this major because they perceive it as hard and don’t want to do it,” Beasley said. “The major focuses mainly on the design and development of software.”
Conversely, the Pulliam School of Journalism had 30 graduates in 2014, despite government estimates that journalism jobs will decline by 13 percent in the next seven years.
The PSJ – which includes separate journalism and public relations majors – had a 96 percent total placement rate in 2014. Roughly 80 percent of graduates were in a full-time employment position, while 8 percent went to grad school, and another 8 percent were employed part-time. Only one student was still seeking.
Professors say the biggest appeal of the school’s journalism program is their ability to connect students with practicing media professionals. Each of the school’s journalism professors either has worked in the field or is still working today.
“We have an older staff heavy on practitioners, rather than theorists,” said Hank Nuwer, journalism professor. “Everyone on staff has contacts in the field.”
But while Franklin maintains a healthy journalism programs, other schools are seeing a drop in the number of students pursuing a journalism degree. Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism has lost nearly 20 percent of its journalism students, according to The American Journalism Review.
In contrast to journalism, the job market for PR is expected to grow by 13 percent, according to BLS.
“You can count the number of news media jobs or organizations on one hand in Indianapolis, but there is a huge number of PR places to work,” said Ray Begovich, public relations professor.
Begovich said the difference in the number of jobs stems from the number of businesses in a city. Begovich said almost every business has a PR department, but few have a need for a full-time reporter.
Begovich also said the job intensity for reporters can be higher than that of PR professionals.
“Journalists are having to do more with less resources,” Begovich said. “PR people think that journalists are the heroes of society.”
The PSJ had the highest number of graduates in 2014.
Other areas in the arts and humanities are seeing modest growth, as well. Jobs in the creative writing field, for example, are expected to grow by 3 percent.
Emma Peavey, a senior theatre major, said she chose to pursue a creative writing minor to supplement her theatre degree.
“As a theatre major, I have interests in the creative world, such as screenplays or writing for television,” Peavey said.
But Peavey said there is “probably not” a good job market for students who only pursue a degree in creative writing, rather than pairing it with another degree.
Creative writing is a minor at Franklin, and, thus, is not considered in Bixler’s survey. However, half of the 2014 English graduates had a full-time job, while the other half were split evenly among grad school and part-time employment.
Another liberal arts field, foreign language translators, is predicted to see a huge increase in the job market – 46 percent in the next ten years, according to BLS.
“I’m thankful that Franklin requires students to take a foreign language, because I think it pushes the students to think outside the box,” sophomore Julia Dembroski said.
Dembroski is a sociology major, but began her time at Franklin as a French major. Like Peavey, Dembroski said she realized she would need additional education in order to make a career with a French degree, prompting her decision to change majors.
“I knew coming in to college that I wanted my salary to be close to or between about $40,000 to $50,000,” Dembroski said. “I also though about how I may need more education in order to obtain a higher-paying job in relation to French.”
The median pay for a translator is roughly $45,000.
Three students graduated with a French major in 2014, with two employed full-time, and one in a graduate program. Of the two 2014 Spanish graduates, one went to grad school, and the other was employed part-time at the time of the survey.
STEM fields, – science, technology, engineering and math – which typically grow faster than the arts, have seen a slight decrease in the number of jobs available. According to the BLS, jobs for chemists will see a 6 percent decrease from now until 2022.
“The minimum amount of schooling is a bachelor’s degree,” said Maddie Parker, a junior chemistry major. “However, entry-level jobs for chemists are scarce. Most chemists have masters or doctorates.”
The demand for chemists is only 2 percent, according to BLS, and the median salary in the field is nearly $78,000.
Of the 11 students who graduated from Franklin with a chemistry degree in 2014, 45 percent were employed full-time, and 55 percent were in a graduate program.
Despite changing job markets, the college continues to pride itself on its high job placement rates for graduates. At the time of the 2013 survey, only 3 percent of students were still seeking a job.
Based on the results of the 2014 survey, eight 2014 graduates who wanted a job did not have one. No department in 2014 had more than one student still seeking a job.
Max Bomber, Jasmine Otam, Kiara Patton, James Reid and Jess Seabolt also contributed to this story.