Lucrative Degrees

The National Association of Colleges and Employers released its report on starting salaries, by major, of new college graduates last week. Who’s doing well?

Many business disciplines saw increases in starting salaries. For example, business administration graduates received a 6.2 percent increase, for an average starting salary of $38,254. Management information systems graduates’ average starting salary rose to $41,579, up 2.5 percent from last year. Accounting grads saw just a 1 percent increase and now average $41,058.

Starting salaries to computer science graduates rose 4.1 percent over last year, boosting the average offer to these grads to $49,036. Information sciences and systems grads fared much better than last year, when their average offer fell 7.5 percent from the previous year. Their average offer then was $38,282, but this year’s average is $42,375, a solid increase of 10.7 percent.

Who’s doing poorly? CNN says the report shows that “… entry-level pay for industrial and manufacturing engineers eased 2.2 percent to $46,036.”

Interestingly, computer and information sciences are two areas that are allegedly being hit hard by offshoring. Perhaps the bad times in that sector were due more to the state of the economy over the last three years than to free trade, after all.

The report also shows that English majors’ starting salaries increased 8.1% to $32.3k while History majors’ starting salaries fell 4.8% to $30.3k. I’m at a loss for a good explanation for these changes — what macroeconomic or technological changes would be good for English majors but bad for History majors? — but I’m open to theories, offshoring-based or otherwise.

Of course all of these salaries are conditional on actually getting a job, of which there are today about 1 million less than when Bush took office. And don’t forget that, as Kash recently showed, and notwithstanding increases in the starting salaries for some graduates, US workers’ share of national income is at a 30 year low.