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Survey: Grads finding hot jobs market
Employers set to hire nearly 15% more college grads this spring, survey says; starting salaries up for many business, engineering majors.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - College graduates this spring are seeing the best jobs market since 2000, with many getting larger starting salaries than were being offered a year ago, according to some experts in the field.

A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows employers hiring nearly 15 percent more recent college grads than a year ago, and a particularly strong market for most business and engineering students.

It found accounting degree graduates are receiving an average starting salary of $46,188, up 5.4 percent from a year ago. Right behind are economics/finance graduates, who are getting average offers of $45,058, up 5.3 percent, and business administration/management majors, who are seeing average offers 3.9 percent higher than a year ago at $40,976.

The group also found chemical engineering graduates getting average offers of $56,549, up 4.2 percent, while the average offer for computer engineer graduates is up 5.3 percent to $54,200.

Even grads with some less marketable degrees are seeing improved salaries. The survey found the average starting salary to liberal arts graduates stands at $30,958, which is up 2 percent from a year ago.

The increases are not unexpected and "track with what employers told us earlier this year -- that they expected more competition for this year's college graduates. That increased competition often results in higher starting salaries," Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, said in a statement.

There were some fields where average offers slipped a bit, according to the survey, but in those cases the offers were little changed from a year earlier. It found marketing graduates have received an average offer of $37,446, down 1 percent, while computer science graduates fell 0.8 percent to $50,892.

John Challenger, CEO of job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, agreed that employers are finding more competition for graduates in the hot fields.

"We are approaching full employment and some employers are already dreaming up perks to attract the best talent," said a statement from Challenger. "Those graduating with degrees in business, engineering, computer science, education and health care should find a relatively welcoming job market."

But not all fields are hot for grads, he warned. Mortgage banking, real estate, automotive engineering, software engineering, media and journalism and pharmaceutical sales are the areas that are not very hot, according to Challenger.


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