College students pick majors for a variety of different reasons, ranging from personal interest in a particular field to the ability to get a job after graduation. Another factor that often comes into play during the process of choosing a major is starting salary. While most students don’t actively seek out majors with low starting salaries, some students place more importance on post-graduation pay than others.
Graduates from the Class of 2012 are being offered more jobs and bigger paychecks than last year’s graduates. According to a recent salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the median starting salary of 2012 graduates is $42,569, up 4.5% from last year. What’s more, according to a survey of 160 employers by NACE, companies expect to hire 10.2% more graduates this year than they did last year. That being said, the competition for these jobs is fierce. Employers have reported that they’ve received nearly 33 applications per job posting. Comparatively, employers received approximately 21 applications per posting last year.
Majors that are in high demand this year include engineering, business, accounting, computer science, and economics. According to NACE, these fields also offer the highest-paying jobs. Graduates with bachelor’s degrees in these fields can expect to earn a median salary of over $40,000. Engineering jobs pay the most, with a median starting salary of $58,581 in 2012. Even jobs in fields that typically don’t pay as well saw pay increases this year. For example, starting salaries in the education sector increased 4.5% to $37,423, and starting salaries for communications professionals rose by 4% to $40,022.
What NACE’s Survey Results Mean for Current Students
As tuition costs rise and the job landscape continues to evolve, a student’s college major is becoming more important than ever before. The results of NACE’s surveys go to show that getting a higher education is still worthwhile, although they also demonstrate that your choice in major has a significant impact on your earning potential. But with continuing economic uncertainty, it is encouraging to see that the job market is improving and that employers are hiring an increasing number of graduates. For more information on potential college majors, explore our list of online degree programs.