Diplomas and Dollars

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Good news for Central Ohio's 20,000 or so recent college graduates: As the economy improves, so do their job prospects, thanks in part to a smaller pool of experienced workers on the prowl.

The paychecks aren't bad, either. According to a survey from the Employers Resource Association, a human resources group, the highest average starting salary for those with a bachelor's degree is $55,191 in chemical engineering, followed by $53,500 in construction science and $51,024 in electrical and electronic engineering. For master's grads, the highest wages were in chemistry, $74,000; software engineering, $62,500; and chemical engineering, $60,000.

The occupations that saw the biggest salary bumps from 2010 to 2012: construction science and liberal arts, both up 18 percent, and chemistry, up 9 percent.

Overall, hiring of new graduates is expected to increase by 10.2 percent. "It's better than it has been for the last few years, especially if you're in a technical field. A lot more companies are starting to hire. A lot of companies are willing to take the risk of hiring someone with little to no experience," says Douglas Matthews, survey manager for ERA.

Nontechie grads won't fare as well. The three lowest average staring bachelor's salaries were psychology and sociology at $32,760, liberal arts and sciences and English at $32,760 and criminal justice at $34,000.

But hey, there's always grad school.

Reprinted from the July 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.