Mar 17, 2010

Engineers Dominate the List for Top Starting Salaries among 2010 Grads

Once again, engineering majors dominate the list for top starting salaries, says a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). NACE’s winter 2010 Salary Survey shows that engineering specialties account for eight of ten best starting offers among 2010 grads.

According to the survey, petroleum engineering continues to earn the highest starting salary at $86,220—nearly one and a half times the average reported for bachelor’s degree graduates overall. Chemical engineering comes in a distant second at more than $21,000 per year less.

Evidently, employers remain conservative despite signs of economic recovery, and average starting salaries are down two percent compared to those offered a year ago. Liberal arts majors continue to take a big hit as starting salary offers fell significantly compared to averages reported in the winter 2009 Salary Survey—down almost 11 percent to $32,555.

“This first look at salaries for the Class of 2010 shows many disciplines posting lower salaries, but it’s important to put this in perspective,” suggests Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “…graduation is several months away.”

Among the business disciplines, accounting majors and finance graduates saw their averages fall by less than one percent. Business administration/management graduates experienced a drop of 1.5 percent.

As a group, graduates with computer-related degrees (computer programming, computer science, computer systems analysis, and information sciences/systems) posted a 6.1 percent increase—the highest reported in the winter 2010 Salary Survey. Engineering graduates experienced a 1.2 percent increase in starting salaries, but still remained at the top of the heap.

Top-Paid Bachelor’s Degrees

1. Petroleum Engineering: $86,220
2. Chemical Engineering: $65,142
3. Mining & Mineral Engineering (incl. geological): $64,552
4. Computer Science: $61,205
5. Computer Engineering: $60,879
6. Electrical/Electronics & Communications Engineering: $59,074
7. Mechanical Engineering: $58,392
8. Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering: $57,734
9. Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering: $57,231
10. Information Sciences & Systems: $54,038

NACE will provide a second look at the salaries for the Class of 2010, later in the spring

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