Class of 2017: 94 percent secured full-time employment or are pursuing further education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) this month released its most recent employment statistics, which show that 94 percent of its 2017 graduates are either employed full time or furthering their education. Many of those who have secured full-time employment are working at internationally focused organizations such as UNESCO, World Bank, Freedom House, USAID Global Development Lab, the UN Center for Learning and Multilingualism, and more.

“I’m excited that SIA graduates continue to find great opportunities in a challenging job market,” said Grant Littke, director of career services. “It’s a tribute both to the hard work they put into their job searches, and to the skills and insights they develop while at SIA.”

2017 graduates are defined, according to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) standards, as those who graduated in summer 2016, fall 2016, or spring 2017. SIA’s employment statistics are based on information from alumni who have reported their status back to SIA as of April 2018.

Digging deeper into the data reveals that 83 percent of graduates found full-time employment within a year, while in that same time span another 11 percent continued their education in either a Ph.D. or professional degree program. These students are continuing their educational journeys at other prestigious institutions, including Harvard Law School, American University, the University of Maryland, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.

The employment figures for 2017 fit within a larger trend—over the previous four years, 95 to 97 percent of SIA graduates have secured full-time positions or decided to pursue further education, within 12 months of graduation. This year’s mark of 83 percent is the second-highest employment percentage over the past five years, a testament to both an improving job market and a talented cohort of graduates who have secured work in diverse sectors including government, nongovernmental organizations, for-profit, and multilateral agencies.

“While employment with the State Department remains a primary focus for many of our students, we’re finding that the consulting sector and other government agencies are offering prime opportunities for graduates to engage with U.S. foreign policy,” Littke said. “The international organization and NGO sectors continue to offer a range of opportunities, and are accessible to international as well as American alumni.”

The SIA Office of Career Services coordinates a set of professional development workshops, visits by recruiters, career exposure trips to major employers, and presentations, all organized around helping students make the transition from academic studies to professional opportunities. Embedded in the academic objectives and outcomes of the school’s curriculum, professional development at SIA is designed to help students think concretely and deeply about their internship and career objectives, strategies for achieving those objectives, and specific steps toward success in that process.