UGA Class of 2020 achieves 91% career outcomes rate despite pandemic


Jourdan Baldwin wears a custom-made face covering as she enters the gates inside Sanford Stadium for the spring undergraduate Commencement ceremony that was held in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

By Loran Posey/UGA Today

Of University of Georgia Class of 2020 graduates, 91% were employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation, according to career outcomes data released by the UGA Career Center. The Class of 2020 data includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who earned degrees between August 2019 and May 2020.

Regarding 2020 UGA graduates:

  • 61% were employed full time.

  • 22% were attending graduate school.

  • 8% were engaged in post-graduation internships, fellowships, residencies, postdoctoral research, part-time jobs, reported their status as entrepreneurs or were not seeking employment.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the job market has been significant with fewer job opportunities, postponed or rescinded job offers, and more students altering plans to attend graduate school,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center. “Overcoming all of these challenges reflects the tenacity, determination and resilience of the Class of 2020.”

Of those who reported full-time employment, 40% cited the UGA Career Center as the most effective resource used during their job search. Another 29% credited experiential learning for helping them find employment, indicating the university-wide experiential learning requirement is boosting career preparation. The requirement took effect in fall 2016, making the Class of 2020 the first graduating class for which every undergraduate student was required to have at least one significant hands-on learning experience.

Graduates from UGA’s Class of 2020 were hired by 2,880 unique employers and are working full time across all sectors of the economy, from business (72% of graduates working full time) to education (17%), government (6%) and nonprofit (5%). Top employers for the Class of 2020 include Amazon, Bank of America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Deloitte and The Home Depot.

Of graduates employed full time, 59% secured employment prior to graduation and 99% were hired within six months of graduation.

“Despite the last few months of my college career being spent in a virtual environment, the UGA Career Center made every effort to provide the Class of 2020 with the resources we needed enter the 'real world' in these unprecedented times,” said Jyoti Makhijani, a May 2020 graduate who earned a degree in marketing.

When Makhijani’s start date with Big Four accounting firm KPMG was delayed from July to November as a result of the pandemic, she continued to lean on the UGA Career Center, which offers programming for both students and alumni.

“During these months of uncertainty, I continued networking through virtual Arch Ready sessions,” Makhijani said. “I remember attending a budgeting and money management Arch Ready presentation as an alumna and thinking how much I appreciate that the UGA Career Center is there for students and alumni every step of the way.”

Nearly three-quarters of Class of 2020 graduates working full time accepted employment within the state of Georgia. Graduates landed in 48 U.S. states and 33 countries in the six months after graduation, with top out-of-state destinations spanning the country and including major metropolitan areas such as Boston, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.

The Class of 2020 data showed an increase in students who chose to pursue additional education, up three percentage points from the Class of 2019, amid uncertain economic conditions. The 22% of 2020 graduates furthering their education have enrolled in top graduate or professional schools including Columbia University, Duke University, Emory University, Georgetown University, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and Vanderbilt University.

The UGA Career Center calculates the career outcomes rate each January by leveraging information from surveys, phone calls, employer reporting, UGA departmental collaboration, LinkedIn and the National Student Clearinghouse. The preceding data is based on the known career outcomes of 8,581 graduates from the Class of 2020.

For more information on how the Class of 2020 overcame the pandemic and its economic effects, visit career.uga.edu/outcomes.

To learn about hiring UGA graduates, visit career.uga.edu/hireuga.

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