Visualizing Career Outcomes with Qlik

 Iryna Johnson, Associate Director for Analytics and Katherine Barker, Graduate Research Assistant
Institutional Research, Auburn University

Surveys of students and alumni play an important role in understanding career outcomes. However, survey results are frequently presented in aggregated form and represent the student population as a whole, rather than parsing out the data by department or by program. Such static reports that represent the entire university are of little use to educational programs and departments. To make data relevant for educational programs, the Office of Institutional Research has created Qlik visualizations of university-wide surveys. 

Career outcomes are measured using three surveys currently conducted by the office. Graduating Senior Exit Survey is conducted among graduating undergraduates; response rates for this survey range from 50% to 60%. Graduate Student Exit Survey is conducted among graduating graduate students, and response rates for this survey are typically close to 40%. Both exit surveys are conducted about three weeks prior to the end of classes. Survey of Recent Bachelor's Degree Recipients is conducted four years after graduation with response rates close to 20%. While exit surveys provide information about securing employment prior to end of classes, the Survey of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients provides information about the first job after graduation as well as about the job at the time of survey administration.

The employment related items on these surveys include: employment status (full- or part-time), employment relation to major (directly related, indirectly related, or not related), salary, occupational group (based on the Standard Occupational Classification System), and geographic location of employment.  In addition to these items, the Survey of Recent Bachelor's Degree Recipients includes questions about job search duration and about reasons for not obtaining a job for those who did not locate an income-producing occupation.

Due to the interactive bars along the top, users can select a college, department, or major to see what employment outcomes and average salaries tend to be in those areas. Users can also filter data by academic year or by semester of graduation. In Qlik, the selected category will appear on the black bar across the top (see image below), which makes it easier for the user to review or delete the selections at any point. 

One of the challenges with displaying these data has been to prevent the possible manipulation of the visualizations to find individually identifiable information. To circumvent this, the data are presented only for charts and tables with at least five responses. If fewer than five responses are selected, a user receives the following message: “This chart/table is not displayed, because the number of responses is less than 5. Please adjust your selection criteria to view this chart.” Another way to prevent users from identifying individual information is by replacing states of employment with regions of employment on some of the visualizations.

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Qlik visualizations described here can be viewed at the links below:




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