March 17, 2018

Jobs Beyond Libraries

Jobs in private industry continued to be lucrative for new LIS graduates, comprising 9.4% of all reported placements, up slightly from 2009. Salaries for these positions rose approximately 2.1% to $56,526 (up $1,225), though they didn’t reach the 2008 average of $58,194. The University of Michigan, Drexel University, and the University of Texas at Austin continued to dominate the private sector placement, both in number (with a combined 53.4% of jobs) and with starting salaries for the three programs that averaged $60,951 (approximately 30.1% higher than the overall salary).

Graduates from an array of LIS programs identified their new employers as companies such as Google, Wolfram Alpha, and AT&T. They also found placements in software and Internet companies, engaging in responsibilities related to information architecture, user interface analysis and design, and software engineering. This same group of graduates also took on jobs in hospitals and medical centers as well as with pharmaceutical companies, working with systems and as knowledge managers.

The 2010 graduates found the best private industry employment in the Northeast. The region claimed 32.6% of the reported private industry positions, and there grads garnered the highest average starting salaries at $63,046 (compared to $56,526 for all private industry positions). The Southeast also offered better earning power in private industry than in other types of jobs with average starting salaries of $43,480 (7.1% higher than the average Southeast starting salary of $40,383), though these same graduates reported the lowest rates of employment in the private sector (8.4%). By comparison, graduates in the West felt the highest impact from the economic recession with both lower placements (11.6% of the total jobs in private industry in 2010 compared to 16.9% in 2009) and salaries averaging $53,000 (down $13,150 from 2009 highs of $66,150).

Women fared almost as well as men in the private marketplace. Unlike in 2008, when the salary gap yawned at 24.4% between the sexes, it tightened for 2010 grads to a mere 4.7% difference in women’s and men’s average starting salaries ($55,809 and $58,545, respectively) for private industry jobs. This suggests that women are more aggressively pursuing jobs that require high-level business and computing skills or backgrounds in information technology and information science.

The other “other”

Besides private industry, the graduating class of 2010 took jobs in other “other” agencies (those falling outside of the library and information professions). On the one hand, graduates accepted positions in nonprofit agencies, hospitals, law firms, and corporations working with information technology and communications, global information policy, and business analysis and research. On the other hand, they accepted positions at lower salaries and part-time hours as retail clerks, baristas, and office assistants in order to pay the bills.

Helped along by jobs in private industry, full-time jobs falling outside of LIS were slightly better paid than 2009 (up to $49,218 from $47,790), and were well above the overall starting average ($42,556) for new grads. Across the board, jobs falling in the “other” category displayed the best salary improvement in the Northeast, which boosted 11.8% compared to 2009 ($49,487 vs. $43,624). Graduates claiming minority status also experienced strong success in placement rates (19% of all minority jobs) and average salary levels ($47,129) for other agencies.

Stephanie L. Maatta About Stephanie L. Maatta

Stephanie Maatta, Ph.D. (, is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Library Information Science, Detroit



  1. Maltesh Motebennur says:

    Job opportunities for LIS graduates in India also not good. Earlier every leading Universities and institutions having at least Librarian and professionals in the field of Library and Information Science. Now many Universities are running without a Librarian, may be senior most professors of any Department is looking after the Library as an In charge, has no idea of Library and Library profession. They take wrong decisions, feed back given by some least interested in the development of the Library. The conditions of such libraries in India are in bad shape.


  1. […] to Library Journal’s Annual Placements & Salaries Survey posted October 15, 2011: “Jobs in private industry continued to be lucrative for new LIS […]