Studies issued by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC) and the West Virginia University (WVU) College of Business and Economics shows that public higher education graduates are employed in all industries and all counties in the state in 2009. The reports break down the most recent data by taking a look at graduate employment by industry and by county in West Virginia.
Graduate Employment and Wages by Industry
Most West Virginia public higher education graduates worked in the health care and education sectors in 2009, according to the new report.
The report, titled West Virginia Higher Education Graduate Employment by Industry 2009, provides detailed analysis of West Virginia work participation and wages by industry for graduates during the past 12 years. These industry results are further disaggregated by degree, area of concentration, gender and experience.
Of graduates during the past 12 years, 25.3 percent worked in health care and 23.7 percent worked in education, according to Dr. George W. Hammond, associate director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research and lead author of the report. "Graduates from public higher education institutions worked in all sectors of the state economy, but the largest shares worked in industries that help build human capital," said Hammond.
For graduates working in the state in 2009, annualized wages were highest in mining, at $67,677, and lowest in accommodation and food services, at $11,605.
"The employment opportunities for higher education graduates in West Virginia in the future will be determined by the size and growth of industries that employ graduates. In particular, health care is likely to generate strong job gains in the next few years, which suggests expanding job opportunities for state graduates with majors in that area," Hammond said.
Graduate Employment and Wages by County
Researchers also found that West Virginia public higher education graduates worked in all counties in the state in 2009, but most worked in counties that are part of metropolitan areas.
These results are included in a separate new report, titled "County Employment of West Virginia Higher Education Graduates 2009," which provides detailed analysis of West Virginia county work participation and wages for graduates during the past 12 years. These county results are further disaggregated by metropolitan/nonmetropolitan region, degree, area of concentration, gender, and experience.
In 2009, 67.3 percent of graduates whose county of employment could be identified worked in counties that were part of a metropolitan statistical area. A much smaller share worked in less populous, micropolitan counties, 17.1 percent, and a still smaller share, 15.6 percent, worked in nonmetropolitan counties.
"Metropolitan counties tend to attract higher education graduates because they are hubs of finance, government, health care and professional consulting activities," said Hammond. "The location of large universities in the Huntington and Morgantown metropolitan areas also tends to boost metropolitan graduate employment."
Among all counties, Kanawha County, Monongalia County and Cabell County posted the largest shares of employed graduates in 2009.
Annualized wages earned by graduates in 2009 also varied significantly across regions, with counties in metropolitan areas posting the highest wages, at $38,348, followed by micropolitan areas, at $35,208, and nonmetropolitan areas, at $33,440.