Report: Starting Salaries Hold Steady

The gloom of the recession had many people expecting salary shrinkage this year, especially for new grads just entering the workforce. But the average 2009 starting salary for new college grads is lower than last year’s by less than 1 percent, a new report says.


A summer report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found the average starting salary offer was $49,307, compared to $49,639 in 2008.

The salary data for younger workers doesn’t deviate much from the overall earnings picture. The U.S. average weekly earnings rose 0.9 percent in June 2009 compared to last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Most of us who are lucky enough to have a job are essentially in a holding pattern when it comes to salary growth.

In the NACE report, the big winners were engineering majors, with an average yearly salary increase of 3.7 percent. Liberal arts majors fared less well, but they are not “starving”: The average salary offer fell less than 1 percent from $36,419 to $36,175.

Here are a few more highlights on average salary offers for 2009 grads with the following degrees:

  • Electrical engineering, $60,125 (+5.6%)
  • Computer engineering, $61,738 (+3.6%)
  • Marketing, $43,325 (+3%)
  • Chemical engineering, $64,902 (+2.7%)
  • Computer science, $61,407 (+1.6%)
  • Accounting, $48,993 (+1.9%)
  • History, $37,861 (+1.7%)
  • English, $34,704 (+1.1%)
  • Business administration, $44,944 (-2.1%)
  • Sociology, $33,280 (-4.4%)

For more information, see the NACE press release.