The Analytics Age | Placements & Salaries 2019

Recovery from the 2008 recession continues: This year’s Placements & Salaries survey indicates that graduates from LIS programs have more options and better opportunities in the field. Highlights include positive trends in salaries and employment status, gender-based pay parity, and employment in LIS institutions. Graduates placed user experience/usability analysis in the top two primary job duties for the first time.

Recovery from the 2008 recession continues: This year’s Placements & Salaries survey indicates that graduates from LIS programs have more options and better opportunities in the field. Highlights include:

  • Positive trends were noted in employment, full-time employment, and average annual salary.
  • Gender-based pay parity is improving; average annual salaries for women are up in four of nine work settings.
  • More graduates are working in LIS institutions over other settings; the downside is that the leading LIS employer for 2018 graduates, the public library, offers the lowest pay.
  • Graduates placed user experience/usability analysis in the top two primary job duties for the first time.



Forty-one of the 52 U.S.-based American Library Association (ALA)-accredited schools participated in this survey for the 2018 calendar year. These schools collectively yielded 4,763 graduates—8.5 percent more than reported for 2017 (despite the fact that one fewer school participated this year). Twenty-nine percent of those graduates submitted questionnaires sharing the outcomes and experiences of their job searches. This response rate is down 2 percent from 2017, but there are 400 more graduates participating.


School Region Number of Schools Reporting Number of Graduates Responding Employed in LIS field Employed outside of LIS Currently
Unemployed or Continuing
Total Answering % employed full-time
Midwest 12 445 280 25 14 319 88%
Northeast 10 256 223 23 10 256 79%
South Central 8 211 188 20 3 211 91%
Southeast 7 263 159 24 7 190 92%
West (Pacific/Mountain) 4 207 176 18 13 207 80%
TOTAL 41 1,382 1,026 110 47 1,183 86%
Table based on survey responses from schools and individual graduates. Figures will not necessarily be fully consistent with some of the other data reported. Tables do not always add up, individually or collectively, since both schools and individuals omitted data in some cases.


Most 2018 respondents describe themselves as female (78 percent). There is a small increase in the proportion of male graduates (20 percent). Those who described their gender as “Nonbinary,” “Other,” or “Prefer Not to Answer” collectively comprised 2.8 percent of responses. The sample size for this group was too small to yield statistically significant results.

The 2018 graduate profile is similar to that in 2017. Respondents are 76 percent white/non-Hispanic, 9 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders, 5 percent Hispanic/Latinx, 5 percent Black/African American, and 3 percent biracial/multiracial. Less than 1 percent identify as Native Alaskan/American/Canadian or another race. More than half of the respondents were between 26 and 35 years old (54 percent), which yielded an average age of 33. Similar to previous years, most graduates were 35 or under (68 percent), and only 12 percent were older than 45. Just over half of graduates said they were pursuing their first career (54 percent), down slightly from 2017.



The average full-time starting salary is $55,357, a healthy 6.2 percent increase over 2017; this is the sixth year that salaries are trending up. This aligns with another positive five-year trend in high levels of full-time employment (86 percent percent) and permanent positions (91 percent percent). For 2018 graduates, full time employment (86 percent percent) was up slightly from 2017. Only 4 percent of respondents said they were unemployed, down from 6 percent from 2017. Among the 14 percent of 2018 graduates who are employed part-time, 54 percent have only one position and 36 percent have two jobs.


YEAR # Library Schools
Avg. Full Time
Starting Salary
Difference in
Avg. Salary
2011 41 $44,565 $2,009 4.72%
2012 41 $44,503 ($62) -0.14%
2013 40 $45,650 $1,147 2.58%
2014 39 $46,987 $1,337 2.93%
2015 39 $48,371 $1,384 2.95%
2016 40 $51,798 $3,427 7.08%
2017 41 $52,152 $354 0.68%
2018 41 $55,357 $3,205 6.2%


Almost nine out of ten 2018 graduates are employed in the LIS field (87 percent). About three-fourths of respondents said they are employed at an LIS organization and 12 percent said they are working in an LIS capacity at another type of organization. Nine percent work outside the LIS field in a non-LIS capacity.

More than half of employed 2018 respondents said they are working in a public library (33 percent) or an academic library (22 percent). Others work in K–12 schools (11 percent) and private industry in general (11 percent). Just 4 percent have jobs in archives/special collections, special libraries, and nonprofit non-library institutions; 3 percent each work in government libraries or other academic units.



Seventy-four percent of 2018 graduates are satisfied with their placement. Interestingly, graduates doing library work in non-library settings hit an even higher satisfaction level (83 percent) than those working in LIS institutions (75 percent). Graduates working outside of the LIS field were almost evenly split between being satisfied (53 percent) and dissatisfied (47 percent).

Dissatisfied graduates mentioned unfulfilled expectations: part-time or temporary positions, paraprofessional or low-paid positions for which respondents are overqualified, or working for underfunded or mismanaged organizations.

Graduates who are happy at work say they are achieving their goals and putting their training to use in their preferred environment. Satisfaction comes from the organization itself, including the setting, culture, or community; and the working environment, in terms of good colleagues, supportive management, good pay, interesting responsibilities, and serving their preferred user category.

Suzie Allard ( is Professor of Information Sciences and Associate Dean of Research, University of Tennessee College of Communication & Information, Knoxville and winner of the 2013 LJ Teaching Award

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Lanzhen Tian

Our school salary is far behind the nationwide criteria. What can we do with it? Please advise.

Posted : Oct 10, 2019 07:13



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