$53,300: The Average Starting Salary for New Accounting Grads

By Jason Bramwell

Accounting students who will graduate in 2013 will be the beneficiaries of an average starting salary that has increased by 7 percent over last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
 
The average starting salary for accounting graduates this year is $53,300, up from $49,700 in 2012, Andrea Koncz, employment information manager for the NACE, told AccountingWEB. In 2011, the average starting salary for accounting graduates was $50,500.
 
This year's data is featured in the April 2013 NACE Salary Survey, which details actual starting salaries for new college graduates as reported by employers. According to the survey, the overall average starting salary for 2013 college graduates is $44,928, up 5.3 percent over the average starting salary for the class of 2012, which was $42,666.
 
"I think the overall starting salary is right on track with where we expected it to be," Koncz says.
 
According to Koncz, survey results showed that the professional, scientific, and technical services industry and the finance and insurance sector are the top two employers within the accounting profession
 
Professional, scientific, and technical services comprise establishments that specialize in performing professional, scientific, and technical activities for others, such as accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services, the NACE states. Finance and insurance includes establishments primarily engaged in and/or facilitating financial transactions.
 
"The average salary for professional, scientific, and technical services is $53,100, and the average is $53,300 for finance and insurance," Koncz says.
 
Business majors as a group saw their overall average salary rise 7.1 percent, from $50,633 in 2012 to $54,234 in 2013. That large increase was driven primarily by double-digit increases for three majors: finance, hospitality services management, and international business, the survey states. 
 
What major had the highest average starting salary? Engineering, which rose 4 percent from $60,151 in 2012 to $62,535 in 2013.
 
"Engineering majors are consistently among the highest paid because the demand for them is so great," NACE Executive Director Marilyn Mackes says in a press release.
 
While engineering students are the highest paid, students majoring in the health sciences saw the largest overall increase to their average starting salaries – up 9.4 percent to $49,713.
 
What Does It Really Mean?
The average starting salary for 2013 accounting graduates is $53,300. So what does this starting salary mean for an accounting student looking for a job? What does it mean for a firm looking to hire a young accountant out of college? 

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