CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Nearly 65 percent of college graduates from South Carolina colleges and universities are employed in the state one year after graduation and 50 percent are employed in the state five years after graduation, according to a new report from the State Workforce Development Board, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHE).
The study not only determined the percentage of student employed in the state one and five years after graduation, it also looked at their annual, median earnings in those time frames. The study also looks at their industry of employment.
The rising costs of post-secondary education and the increasing level of debt taken on by students and families in the state have generated an increased interest in finding out employment outcome of recent college grads and led to the study.
The report shows that median annual earnings tend to increase dramatically, 6.3 percent per year, for people between their first and fifth year post-graduation across all degree levels.
"The study provides students and job-seekers real data on how employment in the high-growth sectors leads to family-sustaining wages, often requiring only a two-year degree or less," DEW's assistant executive director of Workforce, Innovation, Strategies and Programs Michelle Paczynski said.
Graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM fields, had the fastest growth in median annual wage one to five years post-graduation (9.6 percent).
Trades came in second at 8.2 percent per year followed by Business and Communication at 8.1 percent.
Education majors were the most likely discipline to be found in the S.C. wage records, but they experienced the lowest level of wage growth at 2.6 percent per year.
Although more advanced degrees are typically associated with higher median earnings, the study shows people completing an associates degree or less have opportunities to earn family-sustaining wages in high demand fields such as truck and bus driving, machine tool technology and industrial electronics technology.