Hot Jobs for College Grads!

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: December 2, 2011

Good news for this year’s crop of college graduates!

Job Outlook 2008, an annual survey of college recruiters, reports that employers plan to hire 16 percent more new college graduates than they did last year. Reasons for this expanded recruitment effort include an increased demand for many employers’ products and services and a high number of current employees who are retiring or near retirement age.

According to the Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Salary Survey says that the overall average starting salary offer to new college graduates, despite a less-than-robust economy and regardless of major, increased by 7.1 percent over last year.

Marilyn Mackes, executive director of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), indicates that employers view new graduates as future leaders and are looking to groom them for those roles. Communication skills – both verbal and written – top the list of skills and qualities that employers look for in job candidates along with “strong work ethic.” In addition, employers are looking for initiative and strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

In order to achieve organizational goals, employers are looking for new hires that will fit in with co-workers and the workplace, and are able to get the job done. Today’s workers must be highly mobile, deal with the increased outsourcing of jobs, and please employers who are demanding more specialized skill sets from its employees.

Employers are currently targeting students with business, engineering, and computer-related degrees. The list is topped by accounting, mechanical and electrical engineering, and computer science, with competition expected to be particularly fierce for graduates in engineering, computer science, and accounting.

Accounting

The NACE reports salary offers for accounting graduates (see Accountant) are averaging $48,085 this year. Accountants prepare balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and other financial reports. Responsibilities include analyzing trends, costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations incurred to predict future revenues and expenses. They report the organization’s finances to management, and offer suggestions about resource utilization, tax strategies, and assumptions underlying budget forecasts.

Mechanical Engineering

The average salary offer for students majoring in mechanical engineering (see Mechanical Engineer) is about $54,009. These engineers design, develop, and test all aspects of mechanical components, equipment, and machinery. They apply knowledge of engineering principles to design products such as engines, instruments, controls, robots, machines, etc., and may be involved in the fabrication, application, installation, and/or repair of mechanical products.

Electrical Engineering

Students with a degree in electrical engineering (see Electrical Engineer) have been receiving job offers averaging $56,910. These engineers design, test, install, and maintain large-scale electronic equipment or machinery for use in manufacturing or power generation transmission. They may be called upon to use computer-assisted engineering and design software and equipment to perform assignments and apply principles and techniques of electrical engineering to accomplish goals.

Computer Science

Computer Science is a broad area that encompasses a variety of jobs. The emphasis in this program of study is on developing problem solving abilities and programming skills. Students also study computer architecture, computer networking, operating systems, and database design. Overall, the average salary offer in this field is $60,416 which is up 13.1 percent over last year. Some common job titles in this field include Programmer, Software Engineer, and Graphical User Interface (GUI) Programmer.

Help Wanted!

Job Outlook 2008 reports that one third of college recruiters indicate a shortage of new graduates in engineering, computer science, and accounting which may account for some of the relatively high job offer amounts. It should also be noted that these are job offer averages and that salary ranges and job offer amounts can vary significantly based on industry, organization size, and geographical location.

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