Lucrative college degrees
Some majors are raking in big increases in starting salaries. But the initial offers on others haven't kept pace with inflation.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Class of 2006 continues to enjoy the strongest job market in five years. And in many disciplines, the starting salaries are proof that entry-level grads are in greater demand.
"Employers expected to face more competition for new college graduates this year, and that competition is translating into higher starting salaries," said Camille Luckenbaugh, research director for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in a statement announcing NACE's latest quarterly salary survey.
According to that survey, majors that have seen some of the biggest increases in average starting salaries are:
Hospitality services management: Up 9.7 percent to $36,480
Business administration/management: Up 6.3 percent to $42,048, thanks to investment banks that were paying an average of $53,277
Accounting: Up 5.5 percent to $45,656
Economics/finance: Up 5.1 percent to $45,112, again thanks to a high number of offers from investment banks and also financial services companies.
Information sciences and systems: Up 8.5 percent to $48,593
Civil engineering: Up 5.4 percent to $46,023
Chemical engineering: Up 4.7 percent to $56,335, thanks to a large number of starting offers averaging $58,456 from petroleum and coal products manufacturers. Those manufacturers may also be responsible for the 12.3 percent jump in the starting salaries of those who majored in geology and related sciences. They are earning an average of $44,191.
More modest pay increases for others
Other majors also experienced higher entry-level paychecks, but the increases didn't outpace the 4.2 percent inflation over the past 12 months through May. And in a few cases, starting offers actually declined.
These two groups include:
Computer engineering: Up 2.3 percent to $53,651
Electrical engineering: Up 3.2 percent to $53,552
Mechanical engineering: Up 3 percent to $51,732
History: Up 3.1 percent to $32,697
Psychology: Up 1.2 percent to $30,218
Communications: Down 0.4 percent to $31,876
Political science and government: Down 2.6 percent to $32,665
Sociology: Down 2.7 percent to $30,944
English: Down 4.1 percent to $30,906
Top 50: Most entry-level jobs for grads
Student loans: A life sentence
The first-time homebuyer squeeze