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July 18, 2001
Survey: New Grads Are Well-Paid
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pite the economic downturn, a new survey shows that many new college graduates have managed to command top dollar for their skills.

The survey was conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a group of HR professionals and college career-services officials who monitor graduates' movement into the workplace.

The Summer 2001 issue of NACE's Salary Survey shows that depending on the job, starting salary offers to new college graduates increased over last year. For example, the average salary offer to economics/finance grads was $40,577, up 8.2 percent since July 2000.

Business administration grads also attracted attention from a variety of employers, seeing their average offers rise by 6.8 percent, to $38,449. The offers ranged from lows of around $25,000 to highs topping the $55,000 mark.

Management information systems grads saw their average offer increase 4.4 percent, to $45,585. Many of those offers were for jobs in systems analysis and design, consulting, and systems/programming engineering - high-paying fields.

Despite slowing in the tech sector, computer science graduates continued to command hefty starting salaries as a variety of employers vied for their talents, NACE found. The offer there rose 8.2 percent to $52,723.

Computer systems design companies, consulting services firms, and computer manufacturers were in the forefront in extending offers to computer science grads, but many other types of employers wooed them as well.

Although demand for information sciences and systems grads appeared sluggish earlier in the year, their current average offer stands at $45,182, a 4.1 percent increase over July 2000 figures. Many of their offers were for computer programming, systems analysis and design, and consulting jobs.

Many graduates in the engineering disciplines also continue to command high starting salaries and saw substantial increases in their starting salary offers, according to the NACE survey.

For example, the average offer to computer engineering grads jumped 8.9 percent over July 2000 to $53,924, and the average offer to electrical engineering graduates rose 7 percent over July 2000 to $51,910.

Petroleum engineering grads, the highest paid among the engineering disciplines, saw their average salary offer spike up 8 percent to $53,878. They were hotly pursued by petroleum manufacturers for field and project engineering positions.

Starting salary offers also increased among many of the liberal arts disciplines. For example, offers to English grads rose 5.5 percent, bringing their average up to $31,501, while sociology grads enjoyed a 6.8 percent increase to push their average to $28,812. Psychology grads, posting a 5.8 percent increase, enjoyed an average offer of $30,338. History grads, however, saw their average offer slip to $30,375, down 3.1 percent since July 2000.

Political science grads saw little gains in salary; their increase was 0.1 percent. Still, they commanded one of the top salaries among the liberal arts disciplines with an average offer of $32,774. Legal-services employers, state and local government offices, and consulting services firms were most likely to extend offers to these graduates.

Those who were offered positions from consulting services firms received offers averaging a whopping $44,810.

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