According to an article by Chris Kyle on Yahoo! Education, the number one degree that will land you a job is a Health Care Degree. The information is based on a poll of one hundred human resource professionals by the corporate consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. I agree with the rationale that we will always need health care professionals; therefore, this field may be more “recession proof” than other fields of study. However, how does the Challenger poll stack up to the actual offers made by employers as reported in the Spring 2010 NACE Salary Survey? The information in the NACE survey is based on actual offers received by bachelor degree students on campuses all across the United States. According to the Winter 2010 and the Spring 2010 NACE Salary Surveys, Health Care Degrees where not in the top ten bachelor’s degrees in demand by employers; however, Challenger’s number four pick, Accounting/Finance Degree, came in number two and number one, respectively, on the NACE surveys.
It is disappointing though that the number one bachelor degree in demand, according to NACE, has an average starting salary of only $49,599 (even with a 0.4 increase in starting salaries from 2009). The highest starting salary in the top ten bachelor degrees in demand is only $61,233 and that is for degrees in investment banking (number seven on the list of ten). Challenger reported that engineering degrees were the fifth most popular degree to get you hired; however, NACE has engineering services as their second most desired degree according to offers made by employers to the Class of 2010. Furthermore, even though the average starting salary for engineering degrees is $58,371, engineering majors accounted for eight of the top ten salaries as reported by the Winter 2010 NACE Salary Survey (I may begin on my engineering degree after reading that). The top-paid major was Petroleum Engineering with a starting salary of $86,220 (with the disaster in the Gulf they can use all of the great people they can get).
Probably the hardest hit area of study is in liberal arts. Salary offers for students with liberal arts degrees have decreased by 8.9 percent since this time last year. However, the offers for graduates holding liberal arts degrees are still not as low as communications or agricultural degree majors.
In addition to reporting offers, NACE reports employer activity on college campuses and the outlook for the Class of 2010 does not look as bright as one year ago. Over three-fourths of the colleges responding to the NACE poll reported a decrease in employer recruiting on campus from Fall 2008 to Fall 2009. The decrease in demand for bachelor degree graduates is also reflected in the decrease in starting salaries. The first look at the Class of 2010 showed a two percent decrease in the starting salaries offered to the Class of 2010 compared to the Class of 2009. The second look at starting salaries shows only a 1.7 decrease – – not much better but it does offer a glimmer of hope to those graduates looking for jobs right now.
Kyle, Chris. “Degrees That Get You Hired” (Yahoo! Education)
Winter 2010 NACE Salary Survey (Volume 49, Issue 1, National Association of Colleges and Employers)
Spring 2010 NACE Salary Survey (Volume 49, Issue 2, National Association of Colleges and Employers)