Alumni Career Progression Survey


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Three out of four believe that attending JWU was a worthy investment and 86 percent of alumni said they would recommend JWU to someone else.

Those are among the encouraging findings that many of you shared in our 2018 Career Progression Survey of JWU alumni, and for that we are grateful. Your participation in this survey helps elevate our reputation and improves the value of your JWU degree.

career survey worthy graphic: four people, 1 blue, 3 orange

Of more than 4,700 alumni who responded to our survey, those graduates who found JWU a worthy investment represent a significant 16 percent increase over the previous survey, taken five years ago. Set against the background of a national conversation around whether a four-year college degree is worth the cost, where the sides tend to be evenly divided, the findings are a strong signal that JWU is hitting the mark in terms of preparing students for a productive and fulfilling career journey.

Another key finding is that more than eight out of 10 alumni would attend JWU again.

career survey worthy graphic: ten people, 2 blue, 8 orange

More than 8 out of 10 graduates said they would attend JWU again

There are a number of reasons why so many speak of their JWU experiences so favorably. First, respondents to the survey tells us that their majors’ core courses and the experiences they received from internships significantly contributed to the launch and advancement of their careers.

Second, students historically have chosen JWU for a specific program of study, and the most recent career progression study affirms those choices. 

Eighty percent of survey respondents said they would pursue the same field of study if given the chance.

Furthermore, two-thirds of JWU grads intend to advance their career in their current occupational field, with 15 percent indicating they will pursue some form of additional postsecondary education within the next three years.

A third key component of the JWU experience is the contribution that interactions and support they received from faculty and staff had to their career success. Many alumni continue to stay in touch to share professional accomplishments and seek networking opportunities from industry-connected JWU faculty to further their career. Based on the experience of those surveyed, respondents suggest:

Salaries will increase in an upward trajectory as their career progresses post-graduation, surpassing the annual median age-earnings for their non-JWU counterparts in the United States. Their investment in a JWU education will provide them higher earnings potential as they advance in the workforce.

They will possess the job competencies and skills valued by employers, including areas of management/leadership/teamwork/communication, and creative and critical-thinking skills. Their investment in a JWU education will provide them with lifelong mobility in the workforce. This is especially valuable to the seven percent of graduates who are considering changing their current occupational field entirely.

The entrepreneurial spirit of JWU’s founders, Misses Johnson and Wales, continues to be embodied in many alumni. As we saw in 2013: About one-third of JWU graduates have participated in the start-up of one or more businesses.

Graphic of large group of people both blue and orange.

One-third of our graduates have participated in the start-up of one or more businesses

From both the earlier and more recent cohorts surveyed, we continue to see more entrepreneurial activity occurring about 14 years post-graduation and the continuing trend of younger graduates starting their own business much earlier.

In addition, the 2018 survey found that 57 percent of those businesses are still in operation and 46 percent of those participating in a startup are still actively involved in its operations.



In 2018, Johnson & Wales University conducted a career progression survey for alumni who graduated between 1986 and 2016; more than< 4,700 responses were received. Many of the areas surveyed were measured during a previous 2013 JWU Alumni Career Progression Study of which the university received about 4,000 responses from alumni who graduated between 1982 and 2012.