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College Graduates: Starting Salaries Jumped This Year

This article was written by in Salaries. 16 comments.


Here are the latest figures for average starting salaries.

* Chemical engineering: up 5.4% to $59,361
* Computer engineering: up 4.8% to $56,201
* Mechanical engineering: up 4.6% to $54,128
* Electrical engineering: up 3.2% to $55,292
* Civil engineering: up 5.4% to $48,509
* Computer science: up 4.1% to $53,396
* Information science: up 4.6% to $50,852
* Economics: $48,483 (new to the list)
* Finance: $47,239 (new to the list)
* Information systems: up 4.2% to $47,648
* Marketing: up 6.1% to $40,161
* Accounting: up 2.3% to $46,718
* Business administration: up 3.9% to $43,701
* Political science: up 5.9% to $34,590
* English: up 5.3% to $32,553
* Psychology: up 4.7% to $31,631
* Sociology: up 3.5% to $32,033
* History: up 3.3% to $33,768

Granted that my work location offers salaries somewhat below our New York City counterparts, I get the impression from talking to people in my department that the salaries of people who have been here for a while are on par with these starting salaries, and recent grads might even see something significantly lower. If I were to move to a different department — one that makes money for the company — that may not be the case.

NACE Salary Survey [National Association of Colleges and Employers]

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published July 12, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ted

These look inflated to me. What’s the source and how do they calculate them? I wonder if they count the graduates who don’t have a job lined up after they graduate? These numbers look more like TOTAL package numbers, including benefits.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,373 (Platinum)

The source is the NACE salary survey, which includes the average salary offer to new graduates for the disciplines by college degree, and is updated every quarter. The numbers are the base salary figures.

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avatar C

The numbers don’t look inflated to me. I just graduated and fit into the Economics category; if anything the numbers look a good deal lower than I would have expected. Granted, I work in the DC area which has a high cost of living compared to most. For a reference point, most of the Economics majors I know make in the range of 50k – 60k for our first jobs. I have friends in the Baltimore area in Civil and Mechanical Engineering starting in the low 50s. The Finance people I know start around 55, and the Communications people I know start in 35k – 40k, but their jobs are spread across very different industries.

Just a perspective from a graduate.

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avatar PaulD

It would be useful to see the average salaries calculated at a regional level. Various inflation calculators I have seen generally show that it costs about twice as much to live in LA or New York City compared to smaller midwest cities such as Columbus, Ohio or Indianapolis, Indiana. Thus, the perceptions indicated in the comments might all be accurate. To someone in the midwest, the averages might appear to be inflated, but to someone in a large costal city, the averages might seem low.

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avatar tllstaco

I’m a chemical engineer and from what I’ve been hearing in the chemical industry in the Houston area, $59K sounds about right or even a little low. Right now there is a shortage of engineers in our area and the benefits/salary that some have received are obscene.

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avatar shelly

bless god for the salaries jump. One neat service to get your feel whether you’re been getting the right package is salaryBase.com – nice to get a feel whether you’re getting paid right

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avatar Eric T

Do the disciplines listed count the degree or the occupation after school? I graduated with a History degree and am in Financial sales. Which category do I fit into?

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avatar thomas

yup, definitely got the wrong degree. I do think that these numbers tend to be higher that what goes on.

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