Class of 2021: Outlook & Starting Salaries

4.30.2021 | This year’s college graduates can afford to be optimistic. Employers plan to hire a larger number of recent grads and starting salaries are on the rise.

Employers expect to hire 7.2% more college graduates from the Class of 2021 than they did from the Class of 2020, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The hiring increase indicates employer optimism driven by the reopening of businesses, vaccine distribution, and job growth. While it does not match hiring levels seen in 2019, the increase signals a strong movement in the right direction.

Additionally, the projected average salary for these grads has increased to $72,173, up 7.1% from last year’s $67,411.

Average starting salaries by discipline:

    • Computer Sciences: $72,173
    • Engineering: $71,088
    • Math & Sciences: $63,316
    • Social Sciences: $59,919
    • Humanities: $59,500
    • Business: $58,869
    • Communications: $58,174
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources: $54,857

The NACE notes that college graduates are likely to see a somewhat favorable job market, but that is not the case for all job seekers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year the overall unemployment rate was 10.2% for high school graduates and 8.8% for high school graduates with some college education. For those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the rate was 5.1%.

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