College graduate starting salaries are at an all-time high

The following appeared on CNBC.Com by Abigail Johnson Hess on 9/1/’21:

Despite a global pandemic that caused massive unemployment and slashed earnings among working-class Americans, starting salaries for recent college graduates continue to rise. According to a recent report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for the college Class of 2020 was $55,260 — 2.5% higher than that of the Class of 2019 ($53,889 ) and 8.5% higher than the Class of ’18 ($50,944). Among graduates who majored in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, average earnings were even higher.  “In some cases, salary increases most likely reflect these unique times,” says Shawn VanDerziel, NACE executive director. “For example, the increased demand for nurses as front-line workers during the Covid-19 pandemic may have fueled the 2.1% increase in the average starting salary for registered nursing majors, from $57,416 for these graduates from the Class of 2019 to $58,626 for Class of 2020 registered nursing graduates.”

“Technical majors typically are the highest paid as they are usually the highest in-demand,” explains Andrea J. Koncz, NACE research manager. “Also, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the greater need for technology in the new ‘virtual world’ that we live and work, the computer-related majors account for 4 of the top 10 paying bachelor’s degrees from the Class of 2020.”This trend has also been observed by other researchers. A recent analysis of Department of Education data of 2.2 million college students who graduated in 2015 and 2016 and their early career earnings by public policy group Third Way found that STEM degrees provide some of the highest return on investment for graduates.