Class Of 2016 Forecast: More Jobs & Higher Starting Pay

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As you’d expect, business majors are also well-paid to start, with the 2015 class making $49,456 on average (with earnings going up to $56,762 in the 75th percentile). And they’re particularly popular with employers. In NACE’s 2016 Job Outlook Study, business was the most coveted undergraduate major. Here, 69.4% of survey respondents were slated to hire business majors, besting engineering (66.7%) and computer and information sciences (57.8%). Business was also the major to beat at the master’s level, topping engineering by a 32.8%-to-31.7% margin. At a granular level, accounting bested all comers at the undergraduate level, with 54.4% of survey participants targeting these majors in 2016 hires. What’s more, business-related majors account for three of the five most sought-after undergraduate majors, with finance (50.6%) and business administration (47.8%) ranking third and fourth (behind computer science at 53.9% and ahead of mechanical engineering at 46.1%). Not to mention, logistics and supply chain (37.2%), economics (35.6%), and marketing (35.6%) rank among the ten majors that’ll receive the most attention from employers at the undergraduate level.

Among business majors overall, accounting again tops employers’ wish lists. How dominant is accounting? Nearly 8-in-10 companies hiring business majors are seeking accounting majors as part of the mix. However, the margin is closer than you might think, with accounting edging out finance by a 78.4%-to-72.8% margin in this regard (with business administration and management trailing close behind at 68.8%).

As before, many hiring decisions are driven by region. In the northeast, for example, business-related majors occupy four of the top five hiring areas for employers, led by finance (51.1%) and business administration and management (48.9%). In the southeast, accounting (50%) and business administration and management (46.9%) both rank in the top three. The same is true of the Midwest, with accounting (55.2%) and finance (52.2%) listed among the most desirable majors for employers. Out west, however, employers focus more heavily on engineering and computer sciences graduates, with just accounting (32%) registering among the five-most coveted majors.

Not surprisingly, accounting services firms are the biggest consumers of accounting and finance. Even less surprising: Retail and information firms have the greatest interest in graduates who majored in business administration and management.

NACE report


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