Purdue alumni outpace national Gallup-Purdue Index results for employment, work engagement

December 10, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University President Mitch Daniels has released the final results of a survey administered to Purdue graduates based on the national Gallup-Purdue Index.

The survey results reflect Purdue’s commitment to prepare its students for life beyond college, showing that Purdue grads outpace the national averages for employment and engagement in their jobs.

But the report also highlights opportunities to improve the chances that alumni will enjoy great jobs and great lives

“We have accepted the responsibility to learn about and share broadly the value students gain from a Purdue education,” Daniels said. “The survey shows that Purdue alumni are thriving both at work and in their personal lives.

“But it also points out areas where we can improve the value of a Purdue education. I have asked Deba Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, to lead this effort.”

The Gallup-Purdue Index was designed to measure the most important outcomes of higher education – great careers and lives that matter – and provide higher education leaders with productive insights for meaningful performance improvements.

The initiative, conducted by Gallup in partnership with Purdue and the Lumina Foundation, aims to create a national movement toward a new set of measures, created by and for higher education, and to help foster a new level of accountability for the sector.

From late June to early August, Purdue surveyed 113,045 alumni who received degrees since 1975, and 21,397 alumni responded. Those results were compared with a national GPI survey last February and early March of 29,560 college graduates from public and private universities.

The Purdue survey found that 79 percent of alumni are working full-time for an employer, compared to 67 percent of public college graduates nationally. These employed Purdue graduates are more likely to be professional workers or work in managerial or executive roles than are employed graduates of other public institutions.

Purdue graduates also are more likely to be engaged in their jobs, with 44 percent reporting that they are engaged at work, compared to 38 percent from all public universities.

Nearly all Purdue graduates – 93 percent – are satisfied with their personal lives, compared to 86 percent of all public university graduates. Purdue graduates also do better than graduates of all public universities in every area of well-being surveyed – purpose, community, social, financial and physical.

Still, Purdue graduates trailed in a few areas. They slightly lag behind public university graduates in strongly agreeing that they had professors who cared about them - 17 percent for Purdue grads compared to 21 percent nationally – or that they had a mentor who encouraged them – 17 percent for Purdue grads compared to 20 percent nationally.

“The report gives us clear guidance on where we can improve,” Dutta said. “We will stress to faculty the value that a high level of engagement and close interaction has on students’ future success. And we will ensure that virtually every student has the chance to put their classroom learning into practice through undergraduate research, internships and other similar opportunities.”

Dutta also said that next year the university will begin to measure the growth of students from the time they arrive on campus through graduation.

The Gallup-Purdue Index is designed to allow universities to do corresponding surveys, using the national data as a benchmark. Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, said that colleges and universities from all across the country, of all types and sizes, have already begun the process of surveying their own alumni with Gallup.

“Laying the foundation for a better life is what draws students to higher education,” Busteed said. “The Gallup-Purdue Index is a tool colleges and universities can use to survey their own alumni and learn what they are great at and areas that provide opportunity for improvement.”

The survey results based on the total sample have a margin of error plus or minus 1.3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. The results based on employee engagement have a margin of error plus or minus 1.7 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

The complete Purdue survey report is available at http://www.purdue.edu/uns/images/2014/gpi-alumnireport14.pdf

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Deba Dutta, dutta@purdue.edu

Gallup media contact: Leticia McCadden, 202-715-3156, Leticia_mccadden@gallup.com 

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