Good News for Grads: Salaries Are Up

Last Updated Jul 14, 2011 8:54 AM EDT

Last week we reported that according to a recent survey a whopping nine out of ten Americans aren't expecting a pay raise next year. But apparently there is one group who is bucking the trend and pocketing more pay despite the faltering recovery, and it's not who you'd suspect.

Sure, executives are getting a massive pay increase but, more surprisingly, so are students, says the National Association of Colleges and Employers. NACE has just completed its quarterly calculations and discovered that contrary to the prevailing economic gloom (and plenty of evidence that many graduates are still struggling), starting pay for those that did manage to get a job actually rose 4.8 percent.

After a decrease in 2010, salaries were on the rise through 2011, with the average starting salary increasing to $51,018 from $48,661 at this time last year, NACE revealed. How much grads gained was very much dependent on their majors, however. So which subjects saw the biggest gains? Salaries for,

  • Chemical engineering majors didn't rise. Their average offer remains $65,617
  • Civil engineering majors increased less than 1 percent to $52,069
  • Accounting majors increased 2 percent to $49,671
  • Business administration increased 2.2 percent to $44,825
  • Electrical engineering majors increased of 2.8 to $61,021
  • Mechanical engineering majors increased 3.2 percent to $60,345
  • Finance majors increased 4 percent to $52,351
  • Computer science majors increased 4.3 percent to $62,328
  • Economics majors increased 6 percent to $53,906
  • English majors increased 6.6 percent to $39,611
  • Computer engineering majors increased 7.6 percent to $64,499
  • Petroleum engineering majors increased 8.1 percent to $80,849
  • History majors increased 8.1 percent to $40,051
Increases aside, by all accounts the job market for grads remains brutal and youth unemployment is far higher than the national average. Still, for those facing one of the toughest job markets in decades, any cause for optimism is sure to be appreciated.

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(Image courtesy of Flickr user stevendepolo, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.