Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Salaries for the Class of 2009

BETHLEHEM, PA—There’s little movement in starting salary offers to the college Class of 2009 compared to offers received by the Class of 2008, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

The overall average salary offer made to 2009 bachelor’s degree graduates is $49,353—nearly identical to the 2008 average of $49,300. The Winter 2009 issue of NACE’s Salary Survey shows that the stagnation is even evident when looking at individual majors in the disciplines.

“In many cases, salary offers for individual majors that were on the rise just a year ago are now hovering at or near last year’s levels,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

For business majors as a group, average salary offers have increased compared to last year’s report, but only by 2.6 percent. Within the business category, many of the individual business disciplines saw small increases.

For example, the offer to accounting majors rose by 1.9 percent. Their average starting salary offer stands at $48,334. Similarly, grads earning finance degrees saw their average offer increase 2 percent, bringing it to $49,794.

Business administration/management graduates realized a more generous increase: Their average offer rose 4.7 percent to $45,887. Conversely, marketing graduates saw their average offer slip by 0.3 percent, from $43,459 to $43,334. Of greater significance: Just one year ago, marketing grads saw a sizable increase of 5.2 percent from 2007.

As a group, graduates in the computer science disciplines also saw a decrease; their average salary offer fell 1.4 percent from $56,920 to $56,128. (Last year at this time, their average offer was a 7.9 percent gain over the previous year.) Despite the drop in their offer, employers say these grads are in demand. Consequently, the drop may suggest that current economic conditions make it difficult for employers to raise offers.

Due to relatively low supply, engineering graduates generally are in demand regardless of the economy. However, this report shows that even these grads are not impervious to the current economic climate. As a group, engineering grads saw their average starting salary offer rise 2.2 percent to $58,525. But last year at this time, this group earned a 5.7 percent increase.

Despite the demand, most of the engineering disciplines earned much lower increases than those they earned a year ago. For example, the offer to chemical engineering grads rose 2.7 percent to $65,466. Last year at this time, their average offer was up more than 6 percent over 2007. Civil engineering graduates also posted a 2.7 increase (vs. 4.8 percent last year); their average offer rose to $50,785. Average salary offers to electrical engineering graduates increased by 1.6 percent (vs. 3.5 percent last year) to $57,404. Again, it is important to note that despite the tepid increase, electrical engineering grads are in demand, according to respondents to NACE Job Outlook 2009. Mechanical engineering graduates saw one of the higher increases; their average salary offer rose 3.9 percent to $58,648.

Average salary offers to liberal arts graduates remain virtually unchanged. The overall average starting salary offer to Class of 2008 liberal arts grads was $36,715 and the current average of $36,445 represents a decrease of less than 1 percent. As is typically the case at this time of year, data for the individual liberal arts disciplines are too limited to allow for closer examination. However, NACE will continue to monitor the average salary offers for these graduates in upcoming Salary Survey issues.

“Results of this report and NACE’s Job Outlook 2009 report indicate that the college job market has lost some of the momentum gained over the last several years,” Mackes says. “Even so, we need to keep in mind that data from this report are only a small portion of the total offers that will be reported in Salary Survey for the 2008-09 recruiting year; we’ll need to keep our eye on what the end of this recruiting season may yet bring.”

NACE monitors the job market for new college graduates throughout the year. NACE plans to publish its next update on hiring activity for the college Class of 2009 in late Winter/early Spring and will release its next salary report in April.


About Salary Survey: Salary Survey is a quarterly report of starting salary offers to new college graduates in 70 disciplines at the bachelor’s degree level. The survey compiles data from college and university career services offices nationwide. Salary Survey is issued in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, with the Fall issue serving as the year-end report. (Salaries reported in this press release reflect offers to bachelor’s degree candidates.)

About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the college job market. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media. NACE is headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Source: http://www.naceweb.org/press/display.asp?year=&prid=296