Graduates’ starting salary promising

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    By STEPHANIE TODD

    Nearly 1.2 million students from across the nation graduating in 2004 will receive a higher starting salary than those who graduated in 2003 in their same field.

    The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Winter Salary Survey reports positive signs in the job market for new college graduates.

    Marilyn Mackes, executive director of NACE told MSNBC it’s important to recognize the improvement of the job market, even if it isn’t booming.

    Many among BYU’s 6,455 graduates in 2004 are seeing this same improvement as they enter the job market.

    Jane Cunningham, secretary specialist in the engineering department said the increase in job opportunities is encouraging.

    “We are seeing an upsurge of jobs that are posting,” Cunningham said. “We have a lot of jobs posted on our Web site right now.”

    Marc Christenson recently graduated in mechanical engineering from BYU and will start working in July.

    Christenson, who found his job through a career fair at BYU, is happy with the salary he is receiving.

    “My salary is actually higher than I thought I would begin at,” Christenson said.

    The NACE survey found that more than two-thirds of disciplines studied saw a rise in the average salary offer. Computer science majors saw the greatest increase of 8.9 percent to $48,656.

    Luke Hutchison, a recent BYU computer science graduate was pleasantly surprised with his salary.

    “My salary was above what I thought I would start at,” Hutchison said.

    The recession has been going on for quite a few years, but now is coming out, Hutchison said. This is a benefit to computer science majors because computer based companies are providing a variety of perks to draw good employees.

    NACE has ranked the following as the top ten jobs and salaries for first year graduates:

    * Project Engineering $46,241

    * Consulting $44,071

    * Design/Construction Engineering $44,015

    * Financial/Treasury Analysis $42,476

    * Accounting (Public) $40,701

    * Accounting (Private) $40,271

    * Nursing $38,987

    * Sales $35,118

    * Management Trainee/Entry-Level Mgmt. $34,709

    * Teaching $29,266

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