The job climate is tough, but engineers and computer science majors have the best shot at landing a high-paying position.
According to data from a nonprofit group, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the outlook for new grads is slightly better than 2012. For students that land a job, the average starting salary is $45,600 and salaries are 2.6 percent higher than in 2012.
NACE compiles data from a compensation management firm in Topanga, Calif., called Job Search Intelligence, which pulls numbers from some 400,000 employers and from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.
Good news for humanities and social science majors: While these graduates still earn the lowest salaries, their paychecks increased 2.9 percent from 2012, more than any other discipline. Given the demand for computer science graduates, I was surprised to see a slight drop in the average starting salary for a software engineer. Computer science salaries slipped 0.2 percent from the previous year.
NACE produces a number of studies that highlight how students will fare in the job market after graduation. According to an October report, the mining industry offers graduates the highest average salary, closely followed by “management of companies and enterprises.” The nonprofit group also reported a slight increase in the average salary for an intern. Pay checks ticked up 0.3 percent to $16.26 per hour from $16.21 per hour last year.
Overall, jobs are still scarce. NACE runs an employment survey from February through the end of April that asks students whether they have found work. In 2013, less than 30 percent had landed a job prior to graduation.