Some of the findings:
- 39% of college graduates who are employed full-time feel "engaged" in their jobs.
- 49% "do not feel engaged" in their work.
- 12% are "actively disengaged."
Drilling down a bit into the data:
- More graduates who majored in science or business were employed full-time than those who studied social science or arts and humanities. However, those who studied social sciences or the arts and humanities were more likely to feel engaged in their jobs.
- School type--public, private, selective, or non-selective--did not affect workplace engagement.
What contributes to feeling "engaged" in a job? Students who felt supported emotionally during college or who had "deep learning" experiences were more than 200% more likely to feel engaged in their current work. One caveat:
- Only 14% of graduates report experiencing a professor who made the student excited to learn, cared about the student, and mentored the student to pursue one's goals.
- Only 6% had "deep learning" experiences, including active extracurricular activity involvement, completing a semester-long project, and or having an internship.
So, what's all of this mean? Taking the survey data at face value:
- If college is about securing full-time, high-wage employment where engagement in one's work isn't what's important, a student should major in science or business.
- If college is about securing full-time, work where engagement in that work is what's important, a student should major in the social sciences or the arts and humanities.
But, more importantly: None of that matters much when it comes to feeling "engaged" in one's work after graduation. The data indicate that a student can major in any academic discipline and experience engagement in one's work if that student encounters a professor who supports that student and immerses that student in deep learning experiences.
Wouldn't that finding make for an interesting approach for students and their parents to make decisions about a choice of college to attend? The "best" college ends up being the one with the largest percentage of professors who "connect" with their students as they introduce their students to their academic discipline.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Gallup poll, click on the following link:
"The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report."