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February 25, 2003
Many New College Graduates See Lower Salary Offers
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ary offers to many new college graduates, most notably those in the technical disciplines, are lower than they were just one year ago, according to a new salary report conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

According to the survey, the average offer to computer science graduates has dropped 13.1 percent from $51,429 in January 2002 to $44,678 in January 2003. The average offer to information sciences graduates also has fallen, albeit just 2 percent, and now stands at $41,055.

Starting salaries to many engineering disciplines also fell, but those decreases were relatively small. For example, the average offer to chemical engineering graduates fell 1.7 percent to $51,301; mechanical engineering graduates saw their average offer drop 1.3 percent from January 2002 to $48,115; and the average offer to electrical engineering graduates fell less than 1 percent to $50,615.

Civil engineering grads, however, have bucked the downward trend; their average offer rose 2.9 percent to $41,541. Computer engineering graduates also posted a modest gain of 0.4 percent, bumping their average offer up to $52,722.

The business disciplines fared better, with five out of seven majors (in which more than 20 offers have been reported) gaining ground. The average offer to business administration grads rose 11 percent to $36,634. Also on the plus side, marketing graduates saw their average offer jump 5.2 percent to $35,698.

Starting salary offers to accounting graduates increased 4.6 percent over last year for an average of $42,005. Economics/finance grads saw almost the same boost in their offers, as they rose 4.4 percent to $40,413.

Management Information Systems (MIS) graduates weren’t as lucky as their other business counterparts, most likely because the bulk of their job offers, traditionally, are for technical positions. Their average offer dropped 5.6 percent to $40,566, a further indication of how tough the market is for those with technical skills.

Offers to liberal arts graduates are traditionally scarce this early in the year, but initial data indicate little real movement. Average salary offers are up over last year to liberal arts/general studies grads ($29,586), political science grads ($34,594), and English majors ($35,538). On the other hand, criminal justice grads ($27,596), psychology grads ($27,194), and social work grads ($26,459) all saw their average offer drop. As a group, liberal arts graduates now average $29,105, a 1-percent increase from last year when their overall average stood at $28,808.


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