More College Hiring Expected in '03-'04

July 1, 2004 ( - Most employers are looking to bring more fresh-faced college grads on board in 2003-04 than they did in 2002-03.

More than half (51.5%) of the employers polled for the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) Job Outlook 2004 Spring Update said they were hiring more college graduates. The hiring outlook is best among service-sector employers; overall, they expect their hiring to be up 16.1% over 2002-03. Manufacturers, as a group, are also positive about hiring, predicting an overall increase of 12.6% in their college hiring.

By region, employers in the Northeast have the most positive projections and expect to increase their number of college hires by 20.9%. Employers in the South expect to increase hiring by 10.5%, and those in the West project an increase of 8.3%. Although they lag their counterparts in other regions, employers in the Midwest also have a positive hiring outlook-they expect to increase college hiring by 2.7%.

By academic study, n ew accounting majors can also look forward to a larger payday. The average starting salary offer for accounting majors is $42,155, up 1.9% over last year. Additionally, those offered jobs in financial/treasury analysis received an average offer of $46,642.

Among the business disciplines, business administration graduates saw the largest increase. Their average offer of $38,237 in the latest study was a 4.7% increase over Spring 2003.

As good as newly minted accountants and business administration majors did, not all graduates were so lucky. T he starting salary offers extended to economics/finance graduates and marketing/marketing management graduates was stagnant. Economics/finance majors saw their average offer decrease 0.1% to $40,718 and marketing graduates saw their average dip 0.4% to $35,680.

Some disciplines experienced a dramatic drop in wages.Management information systems graduates experienced the largest salary decrease among the business disciplines, with their average salary offer now standing at $40,846, down 1.7% over last year.Among all bachelor’s degree level majors, communications grads were hit hardest. Their average starting salary offer dropped 12.7% to $28,388.