Graduating seniors in the class of 2013 will have a distinct advantage in the job market over their 2012 peers: higher starting salaries.
According to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college graduates entering the workforce this year will have an average starting salary of $44,928. That’s 5.3 percent higher than the average starting salary of U.S. college grads in 2012.
Students who have earned degrees in the increasingly important fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have the highest average starting salaries, while the field of health sciences saw the largest jump – 9.4 percent – between 2012 and 2013.
According to NACE, the notable increase in the starting salaries of students who majored in health sciences was likely fueled by nursing salaries rising 4.3 percent in the last year to $52,800.
These findings are coupled with the fact that the class of 2013 is also facing a better economic outlook than 2012’s grads. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent as the class of 2012 approached graduation. Currently, the U.S. has an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.
Although all of these factors work in the class of 2013’s favor, higher starting salaries and a brighter economic outlook do not guarantee that a graduate will find a job directly out of college.
According to NACE, across-the-board hiring in the United States is expected to remain relatively flat in the coming year. However, the report indicates that employers do expect to hire 2.1 percent more new college graduates from the class of 2013 than they did from the class of 2012. With college degree in hand, particularly in fields like healthcare that are rapidly growing, young adults entering the workforce will have a much easier time of it than those who have come before them in the last five years.