It seems that in the United States, college graduates are experiencing an upswing in starting salary, according to the National Association of College & Employers’ (NACE) 2013 salary report. Currently, starting salaries provide college graduates, in select disciplines, an average of $45,000 per year – a 5.3% increase from 2012.
Despite this upswing, however, there’s still a 7.5% unemployment rate amongst BA graduates whom are having difficulty finding employment post-college with their chosen discipline. This infographic was brought to you by Open Colleges.
Average Salaries by Discipline
As mentioned, this salary increase applies to select disciplines; ones that have experienced a salary increase from 2012 to 2013 include: Business, Communications, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Math & Sciences.
Overall, the 5.3% increase has taken college graduates from an average starting salary of $42,666 to $44,928 ranging from 2012 to 2013 – the strongest contributor to this increase being professions within the Health Sciences niche, which brought in a 9.4% increase in starting salary.
2013 Job Market – Highest Paying College Majors
By the end of 2013, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that more than 1.8 million people will have poured into the job market. Of course, not every college graduate will be able to find their footing; or, at least, not as well as those within these select college majors that seem to do quite well right out the gate – these majors include:
- Biomedical Engineering — $52,800
- Biochemistry — $41,700
- Computer Science — $56,600
- Software Engineering — $54,900
- Environmental Engineering — $51,700
- Civil Engineering — $53,100
- Geology — $45,300
- Management Information Systems — $51,000
- Petroleum Engineering – $97,900
- Applied Mathematics — $52,600
All of the above majors’ salaries increase substantially by mid-career, some gaining an extra $30,000 to $60,000 per year at just the median pay mark – Petroleum Engineering is, of course, the blue ribbon winner, taking home $155,000 per year at median pay.
Falling under the realm of the above college majors are the United States’ top-performing and top-paying industries, reports the USBLS, which include:
- Mining, Quarrying & Oil, Gas Extraction
- Management of Companies & Enterprises
- Finance & Insurance
Out of these industries, the Manufacturing industry, as well as the Finance & Insurance industry, experience the most substantial pour-in of college graduates – ranging up to 100,200 graduates to date. However, it’s the Mining, Quarrying & Oil & Gas Extraction industry that pays the high-dollar entrance salary: $84,182 per year.
Employed Graduates Ages 20 to 29
Despite the salaries that come out of the above industries, very few dominate the majority of where college graduates are ending up in 2013 – according to the USBLS’ data for graduates between the ages of 20 to 29. For this age group, the top 3 employing industries include:
- Educational Services — employs 20% of persons in this age demographic that hold a Bachelor’s Degree, and 31% that hold an advanced degree.
- Health Care & Social Assistance – employs 17% of persons in this age demographic that hold a Bachelor’s Degree, and 24% that hold an advanced degree.
- Professional & Business Services – employs 14% of persons in this age demographic that hold a Bachelor’s Degree, and 23% that hold an advanced degree.
In this same age group, the lowest employing industries include: Goods-Producing, Financial Activities, and Public Administration.
Unemployment Rate for BA Holders
Unfortunately, not everyone with a bachelor’s degree is getting hired – this is due to both the still-recovering economy, an influx in graduates, and a competitive job market.
According to the NCES’ Digest of Education Statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States for persons holding a Bachelor’s degree is 7.5% — this more than doubles the BA unemployment rate from 1990 and is a 3% increase from 2008.
- BA Unemployment for Ages 20-24
- 1990 – 3.14%
- 2000 – 4.96%
- 2008 – 4.51%
With so many of the United States’ college graduates unemployed, how are they supporting themselves? In 2010, these young grads kept their heads above water – making only half, or in some cases a quarter, of what other college graduates in different disciplines were making – by finding employment through the following:
- Retail Sales – 24.6% ; $21,010 (median annual wage)
- Amusement & Recreation Attendants – 23.5% ; $18,650
- Telemarketers – 18% ; $22,520
- Bartenders – 16.5% ; $18,850
- Waiters & Waitresses – 14.3% ; $18,570
- Personal Care Aides – 10.5% ; $19,730