Data Story: Where Comm Lead graduates find jobs

by Hongli Wang

Whether you are a current Comm Lead student or someone interested in the program, you’re probably curious about where graduates from the program eventually land. You’re in luck! I’ve organized valuable insights based on data collected from 227 out of 272 Comm Lead graduates in the years 2021 and 2022

As you may have guessed, given the program’s location in Seattle, and emphasis on communication, most Comm Lead graduates are engaged in tech companies, marketing/PR agencies, and media companies. The proportions of graduates in these three industries seem to be increasing.

So are there any companies that particularly favor Comm Lead graduates? The answer is Yes! The University of Washington itself ranks first with 11 Comm Lead graduates hired in the years 2021 and 2022. Amazon and WE Communications rank second and third respectively with more than five Comm Lead graduates hired. 

WE Communications and KUOW Public Radio did not hire any Comm Lead graduates in 2021, but they hired six and three graduates respectively in 2022. So does this reflect any specific efforts to build relationships with those companies?

According to Liyao Zhao, Head of Outreach, Communication Leadership Program, University of Washington, they have a long-term partnership with WE Communications through the program’s founding director Hanson Hosein, and they held an info session for WE Communications in fall 2022. In addition, the program’s staff team has a working relationship with KUOW on several projects, and KUOW was also at the program’s annual career fair.

Mid-career students account for about 43% of the total Comm Lead student body. Given that real-world experience, it’s not surprising that some grads directly land a more senior position, or at least not an entry-level one, even for those pivoting careers.

More than one-third of the graduate in our data set, go job titles above entry level, which seems to reflect the composition of admitted Comm Lead students in terms of work experience coming in.

While many of these indicators were steady between 2021 and 2022, the career path distribution of Comm Lead graduates changed drastically. The proportion of Comm Lead graduates engaged in Marketing, Advertising & PR related jobs dropped significantly, whereas the proportions of UX & Content Strategy, Product/Program Management and Organizational Communication increased a lot.

“We noticed more students show interest in UX and Program Management when they enrolled in the program, which might be influenced by the job market in the past few years,” Zhao said. “The technology industry, in particular, has seen a surge in job opportunities and higher salaries in UX and Program Management roles, contrasting with the declining job market and lower salaries in traditional PR/Advertising sectors. However, the job market trends are constantly evolving.”

In sum, this could mean that Comm Lead graduates will continue to be concentrated more in the tech industry as well as in UX and product management roles for some time.