The latest survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is in, and it indicates a positive job outlook for graduates starting their new jobs.

The triannual report’s spring edition shows 2.3 percent more graduates are supposed to enter the workforce in 2013 than in 2012, and that they can expect an average salary of around $45,000, an increase of 5.3 percent from 2012.

NACE divided its results by broad industry categories, and a closer look reveals that the business sector has seen particular gains in 2013, with average salaries rising by 7.1 percent, significantly more than average. Health sciences saw even higher gains, with a 9.4 percent increase up to nearly $50,000 in average salaries.

The education industry did well with a 5.1 percent increase, while industries such as communications and engineering fell below the average growth rate — humanities and social Sciences saw the lowest rates at around 2 percent.

When it comes to the top hiring industries, however, graduates may have the most luck with education services, which NACE rates as having the most graduate entrants at around 455,000, easily beating the next-best industry, professional/scientific/technical services with 307,000 entrants. Interestingly, construction and manufacturing had the highest hiring rates after this, followed by the finance and insurance industry in 5th place.

The job outlook report is welcome news after worries about an education bubble and the possibility that a college education, with its requisite debts, was not worthwhile in the current job market. The NACE report is joined by other studies in allaying this fear, including the Public Policy Institute of California, which released a June 2013 report showing that California graduates benefited significantly from college compared to those looking for work straight out of high school. The report showed that in 2012, the employment gap was around 5 percent between high school and college graduates, a significant rise from 2007.

For those new to the job market, the result proved far more disparate, with recent college graduates about 20 percent more likely to find employment than those recently graduated from high school. The report also showed that college graduates in California continued to earn notably larger salaries than high school graduates in comparable positions.

With such reports painting a positive picture of life after graduation, other organizations are focusing more on the financing issues associated with college — a critical step on the path to graduation. Notably, College Board released an April 2013 report suggesting that the popular Pell grants be expanded to offer better financing options for both younger students and those returning to college to expand their education.


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