Average Starting Salary For 2012 College Grads: $44,259

class of 2012 job salaries

It's a group of job seekers that was due for a spot of good news. College graduates in the class of 2012, the newest entrants into the labor market, have had the unenviable assignment of launching their careers amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But a new report suggests there may be a flicker at the end of the tunnel.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers has released its September 2012 Salary Survey, and the median income has improved 1.7 percent for 2012's college grads as compared to the class of 2011. (The average so far for the class of 2012 is $44,259, up from last year's average of $43,521).

More: 10 Highest-Paying Degrees

Of course, many 2012 grads are still trickling into the market after the summer, but the early good news seems to be apparent across the economy.

"It's important to note that, while the overall increase is small, all broad categories of majors have seen an increase," says Marilyn Mackes, the NACE executive director.

See below for a table of the academic majors that saw the highest salary improvements, showing that the most notable change is for grads with degrees in business or communications. Both groups are seeing a 2.2 percent salary uptick thus far. (A total of 90 majors were analyzed.)

Regardless of how their employment opportunities compare to preceding classes, the members of the class of 2012 still face an uphill battle in beginning a solid career. For starters, you can't discount their entrance into a labor market with many looking to snatch available jobs: just 51 percent of all those who have graduated college since 2006 are working in full-time jobs, a Rutgers University study from May said.

And the jobs they are getting are probably not the ones they wanted. As a recent editorial in the New York Times dedicated to the class of 2012 notes, "nearly 40 percent of working recent graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree."

Broad Category

2012 Average Salary

2011 Average Salary

Percent Change









Computer Sciences












Health Sciences




Humanities/Social Sciences




Math & Sciences




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David Larson

Most students mess up their first salary negotiation. I know because I speak every year at the University of Southern California on this very topic. As a professional salary negotiator, I have helped over 700 people negotiate higher salaries. One trick I always use is to do the whole thing over email. Negotiating salary over email helps level the playing field because it takes away the opportunity for your employer to "read you" in person. Remember, he’s been in dozens of salary negotiations, and he knows you’ve been in zero. Over email you have the opportunity to carefully choose each word. You can even hire a professional like me to help you outplay your employer. I will craft emails that will make your employer throw money at you, even if this is your very first job. If you want a professional salary negotiator to boost your salary, please visit us at: www.NegotiatingSalary.com/FreeTutorial Coupon Code: COLLEGE gets you free 24-hr turnaround on our services. Just in case you waited until the last minute to learn how to negotiate. Guess what? Most of our college clients do.

October 29 2013 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the way to get out of this is by doing something different. if you dont wanna be stuck in life in debt like probably most people in your life that you know, then dont do what theyre doing guys. start your own business www.bziolko.vemma.com and take control of your own life and finances. dont invest in stocks or save money, invest in yourself and start your own business.

November 12 2012 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know of 6 college grads that cant find a job in there chosen field because every body is looking and the ones with experience get the job. My daughter being 0ne of them

September 11 2012 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What does a degree in "occupy Wall Street" get you?

September 10 2012 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Engorgio Penissio

I didn't think any grads were finding jobs in the Obumma-economy?

September 10 2012 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder just how many will flock to the polls to vote for Obama, again. Their gravy train --------just ended--------Now it's time to pay the fiddler.

September 10 2012 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"The average so far for the class of 2012 is $44,259." Statistics say that the average college student will graduate
$60,000.00 in debt. At 6% interest for 15 years, this new individual is not going to be able to be part of building the middle-class dream. Oh, by the way, $44,000. is probably not middle-class. This is still part of the working-poor, albeit at the upper end. This means that we should all invest in Banks and Colleges on Wall Street, as this is where all the growth is. The cost of a college education has outstripped inflation for decades. Tenure teaching is where all the old politicians and CEOs go, who are too old to make it anymore. The price of buying into a better job, or a chance at the upper middle-class is getting way too expensive for the amount that American business is willing to pay the over-supply of college graduates. Before you get all political, do the math. Don't repeat the dogma from either political party. The math just doesn't work. No vibrant middle-class, means no America. Extremely rich and poor equals India and Pakistan, not America. The government trying to make the poor into the middle-class, equals Greece. I think it's time to have one of the very famous companies from Israel outsource college educations to India, and computers on the worldwide web. It worked very well with the back office of Warner Bros. Studio, for Time-Life, and the Human Resources depart. of Bank Of America. And I believe we are currently doing it with the Nielson-Ratings Company. The old college professors can then become consultants, write books, do something for a living besides having young ignorant students paying homage at the altar of what-used-to-be. We can even include to each Freshman student an envelope of fresh Harvard mold to hang up by their computer. With the $40,000 they save, they could buy a decent suit or a stylish hoodie to go get their first interview started out properly. They might even purchase a pair of wing-tip shoes so they can quit coming to interviews with running shoes on. The only one this will hurt is Helicopter-Ben, who gives the money to the big banks FOR FREE, who then loan it to the college students for INTEREST & hidden fees . Oh, and this will also mess up the politicians who try to convince students that they are helping them. My mother always said, "When one is making soup, the fat always rises to the top, and needs to be skimmed off."; and American business has cut all the fat and waste off the bottom for decades. Now it's time to skim the fat off the top, and like Chicken Soup, Buddie, there's lots of it. Like the old Gospel song, "It's deep and wide." - [fat]. If employees who fail are terminated, then CEOs who are mediocre and fail should not be paid what they are being paid, and should also be terminated. This will allow for dividends for the stockholders who deserve proper return on their capital and growth. No unions for CEOs or workers.

September 09 2012 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that salary levels are adequate now for most professional jobs but the problem is that many of our citizens cannot find work. I have experienced an unemployment situation when I left school. I paid an employment agent for the job I landed in 1947 when I left college. Shortly thereafter I was reimbursed for the fee I had paid because the connection with my employer worked out so well. Of course, in my day, we didn't graduate with so much indebtedness as students do nowadays. I didn't have much money when I graduated but I didn't have any indebtedness either. So maybe current salary levels are not as high as they look at first glance.

September 06 2012 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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