This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

June 16, 2010

Mixed Outlook for College Grads

While for some of the 2.2 million college-age graduates in the class of 2010, it's a terrible time to be looking for a job, others have companies chasing them. The Great Recession has forced many grads to be "boomerang kids", until they can find a job. Often when they do find jobs, they are low-paying, part-time positions outside their fields of study.

Though recent college grads are not ideal job candidates, those with certain specialized degrees are in high demand in some cities, notably Cincinnati, and they’re commanding surprisingly high starting salaries. With the 10.2 percent unemployment in that Metro Area and the thousands of out-of-work professionals looking for jobs, it is curious.

A recent survey of the 1,400 member companies in the Employers Resource Association (ERA), a Cincinnati-based HR services and consulting consortium revealed some fascinating statistics about average starting salaries was for recent college graduates.

As usual, engineering and technical students will earn the most. Of the top ten best-paying fields for students with bachelor's degrees, eight were in engineering and the sciences, with starting salaries ranging from $48,000 to $54,333. Many of these engineering and science jobs are highly skilled positions requiring training. Employers are willing to pay for graduates' specialized knowledge.

The bachelor-degreed graduates commanding the highest starting salaries in Greater Cincinnati are chemical engineering ($54,333), public relations ($54,000), software engineering ($53,964), electrical engineering ($51,266), and construction science ($51,000). Reinforcing these results was a recent report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers in which eight of the ten top-paying majors are in engineering.

By contrast, the graduates commanding the lowest starting salaries are criminal justice and corrections ($26,000), liberal arts and sciences ($29,970), English ($30,470), psychology ($33,500) and communications ($36,079).

Also recently, Yahoo.com released its list of the most desirable degrees:

  • Healthcare (Nursing, Pharmacy, Medical Technician, and Physical Therapy)
  • Business Administration (Business, Business Administration, and Business Administrative Support)
  • Computer Science (Computer Science, Technical Information Technology and Systems)
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Engineering (Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Network Engineering and Administration, and Programming and Software Engineering)
  • Marketing

Other data from the ERA study reflected that employers are paying the most for specialized degrees. Expect this payment for specialization to continue and the move towards specialization in all fields to intensify.


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