BETHLEHEM, PA--The average salary offers to petroleum, computer, and chemical engineering graduates all stand at $49,000 and above, but a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that students from a wide variety of disciplines are getting top dollar.
"We're seeing substantial increases in starting salary offers for all
types of students," says Camille Luckenbaugh, NACE employment information manager. "Not only are engineering and computer sciencegrads getting big offers, but students in the business disciplines are doing exceptionally well, and liberal arts graduates are also seeing significant jumps in their average offers."
The Summer issue of NACE's Salary Survey, released in July, shows the effects of continued low unemployment and a strong economy. "The college job market is remarkably strong," says Luckenbaugh.
Among the business disciplines, business administration students are enjoying some of the biggest salary increases, with their average offer climbing to $35,991, an increase of 6.5 percent over July 1999.
Accounting graduates are also doing well; their average offer is up 7.1 percent over July 1999 for an average of $36,919. Offers to marketing graduates are up 5.1 percent, for an average of $33,141.
MIS offers up 6.3%
Management information systems grads, who appeal to employers because they combine business and technical skills, are averaging $43,657, an increase of 6.3 percent over July 1999 figures. Slightly more than one-fifth of their offers are for jobs in information systems, with some candidates fielding offers of $49,000 and more for such positions.
Computer systems design companies, computer manufacturers, consulting firms, software publishers, and communications organizations continue to aggressively pursue computer science grads, but employers of all types are vying for their talents. As a result, the average offer to computer science grads is up 9.9 percent since July 1999 to $48,740.
Information systems grads are also generating a lot of interest among employers, causing their average offer to skyrocket 10.6 percent over July 1999 figures to $43,402.
Engineering grads get highest salaries
Engineering graduates are seeing steep increases in their starting salary offers. Computer engineering grads, for example, are enjoying a 9.6 percent jump, bringing their average offer to $49,505; in addition, one-quarter of their offers meet or exceed $53,000.
The average offer to electrical/electronics engineering graduates is up 7.5 percent over July 1999, for an average of $48,492. EE grads have a wide variety of jobs to choose from, including positions in hardware design, software design, project engineering, systems engineering, and manufacturing engineering.
Offers to industrial and mechanical engineering graduates also increased. Industrial engineering grads are seeing a 5.9 percent increase, bringing their average offer to $45,612. The average offer to mechanical engineering graduates has risen 5.4 percent to $45,617.
Meanwhile in the liberal arts
Although media attention has focused on the job market for graduates with technical degrees, the current economy has also been good to liberal arts grads. For example, the average offer to English language and literature graduates is up a whopping 10.5 percent over July 1999 for an average of $29,845, with a third of those offers for teaching positions and writing/editing jobs.
Political science/government graduates are also getting extraordinary increases: Their average offer has leaped 11.8 percent to $32,748.
Consulting firms, one of the top employers of new college graduates, have helped push up the average offer to history graduates by 9.5 percent to $31,359. Although more than one-fifth of their offers came from educational institutions, which offered an average starting salary of $27,441, history grads got 14 percent of their offers from consulting firms which offered $40,347 on average.
Figure 1: Top 10 highest paying curriculum areas for bachelor's
Petroleum engineering $49,892
Computer engineering $49,505
Chemical engineering $49,000
Computer science $48,740
Electrical/electronics engineering $48,492
Mechanical engineering $45,617
Industrial/manufacturing engineering $45,612
Metallurgical engineering $45,209
Management information systems $45,657
* Average annual starting salary offer, based on areas that had 50 or more offers reported. 1 Pharmacy is a five-year degree program.
Source: Summer 2000 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers.