Where do they all go?

By Eric Crampton 12/06/2013


Neal Caren’s put together a beautiful little infographic showing the flow of graduates from various US majors into different occupations, using data from the last two waves of the American Community Survey.

So we can see that of the 173,849 graduates in Economics:

  • 37,043 became accountants and auditors
  • 32,303 became financial managers
  • 23,872 became chief executives
  • 36,842 became managers 
  • 43,789 became lawyers
So just under 14% of the kids graduating in economics became CEOs. Now there were 160,706 people identified as chief executives in the dataset. So 14% of econ grads became just under 15% of all CEOs.  Accountants were also overrepresented among CEOs. General business majors were underrepresented among CEOs; they were more likely to be retail salespersons or first-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers than to hit the head office. 
Alas, the chart isn’t great for major-selection purposes. We can’t see the proportion from each major reporting unemployment, for example. But it can help with Avenue Q’s question. What can you do with a B.A. in English? By plurality: go on to teach at elementary and middle schools.