Job Front: Engineering graduates among top-paid majors

02/03/2014 12:00 AM

02/03/2014 12:05 AM

Engineering graduates, take note. Your field is likely among the top-paid majors in your class.

A recently released report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NACE, shows that engineering majors were seven of the 10 highest-paid majors among 2013 bachelor’s degree graduates. The results were featured in the association’s January 2014 Salary Survey.

NACE tracks the starting salaries of graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2013.

Pick an engineering field and it likely made the list: fuels and computer engineering, aerospace and aeronautical engineering, as well as mechanical and electrical engineering.

In a statement announcing the survey, NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes said she anticipated the results because of the demand for engineering talent.

“This isn’t surprising since there is a great deal of competition among employers for engineering majors,” Mackes said.

Petroleum engineers took home the biggest salaries among 2013 bachelor’s degree grads, with an average starting salary of $97,000.

Class of 2013 computer engineers’ starting salaries trailed by nearly $27,000, but they still managed to pull in $70,900 on average. Chemical engineers with newly minted bachelor’s degrees took home an average of $67,500, according to the survey.

“It’s a matter of supply and demand,” said Cici Mattiuzzi, career services director at Sacramento State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Mattiuzzi sees the talent and employer demand first-hand.

More than 70 employers are already committed to the engineering college’s annual career fair at Sacramento State in March, she said.

Many of the firms have new contracts or projects in the pipeline or are looking to expand their businesses and need new engineers. The companies run the gamut from engineering consulting and services to construction, manufacturing and utilities and defense and information technology.

Hydraulic fracturing and other fuel technologies have changed the petroleum industry and expanded demand for new engineers, she said.

At Sacramento State, Mattiuzzi has seen “pretty significant demand for computer engineers.” Construction, too, is coming back after long, lean years.

For engineering demand, “it’s about IT and construction. It’s about government-sector hiring. It’s about infrastructure – what makes the country work,” she said.

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