This year's crop of accounting graduates is faring well in an otherwise lackluster job market. Unlike graduates in information science or engineering, most business administration majors are receiving starting salaries higher than last year, according to a recent salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a Bethlehem, PA-based organization that provides information to college career services practitioners and human resource professionals.
NACE's study shows that starting salaries for business graduates on the average rose 11 percent to $36, 634. Salaries for marketing majors rose 5.2 percent to $35,698, accounting graduates rose 4.5 percent to $42,005, and economic and finance majors rose 4.4 percent to $40,413. Other college graduates are not seeing the same type of across-the-board increases that business majors are. Offers for computer science graduates fell 13.1 percent to $44,678, chemical engineering graduates fell 1.7 percent to $51,301, and liberal arts/general studies graduates rose 1 percent to $28,808.
Overall the job market for recent graduates is a tough one because companies are hiring new workers at the same rate as last year. Accounting majors, however, are bucking that trend and often have their choice of job offers. While accounting firms have increased their hiring by 3 percent this year, the number of qualified accounting graduates has shrunk. On March 10, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported that when Ohio increased the course requirements to take the CPA exam in 2000, accounting graduates in the state dropped 21 percent. Although that number has rebounded slightly, some regional Ohio accounting firms report that they still have job opening to fill this year.
The demand for accounting majors should remain steady. According to the Department of Labor, job growth for accountants, auditors, and financial managers is expected to increase by 10 to 20 percent over the next ten years.