college grads

Good News For College Graduates: Average Starting Salaries Are Up

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There is some good news for the people who are looking for a first-time salaried job.

We all know college loans are rising dramatically, but at least salaries seem to be now, too. The National Association of Colleges and Employers said the average starting salary for the class of 2020 is up about 2.5% from the year before. And more than 8% from the class of 2018.

That starting salary amounts to just over $55,000.

But who's making the most?

Nurses have seen an uptick in salaries thanks to demand from the pandemic. But engineering, science and tech jobs are making the most money.

A petroleum engineer has the highest starting salary with a bachelor's degree at nearly $88,000. Other top jobs are in computer programming, engineering, science and any kind of electrical engineering.

NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran spoke with Nina Pirrotta, a plaintiff's employment lawyer and partner with Garrison Law about the increase.

Dan: "So Nina, obviously, these higher salaries are great news for these college students. But this is about more than just a salary, right? This opens up a lot of new opportunities for these younger people."

Nina: "It really does Dan and great, the salary is wonderful and that in and of itself does open up opportunities like perhaps pursuing an advanced degree while they're still in their current position, because they have the luxury now of having their financial level of comfort that they can do both. But it is more about the general working conditions, the flexibility that not only these college students have, but perhaps even greater numbers of different types of employees have as a result of the pandemic."

Dan: "And when you think bigger picture, how do you think this could benefit the entire economy as a whole?"

Nina: "That's a great question, Dan. And I, I am cautiously optimistic that actually this phenomenon will benefit the economy as a whole, because the economy benefits when as many different segments of the society are participating in it, right. So when you have working mothers coming back to the workforce, when you have people of color coming back to the workforce, disabled people, people who have primary responsibility for caring for someone else at home, and they're all now meaningfully participating in the workforce, the economy can only benefit it as as a result."

Dan: "Yeah, let's talk a little bit about that. Because when we last talked a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about how people during the pandemic have become more selective when it comes to finding jobs that have higher pay, more flexibility. And now this news about higher starting salaries for college grads, so is all of this part of a bigger shift when it comes to the American workforce?"

Nina: "I think it's too early to tell whether or not it will have long-term benefits. But I certainly think it's an auspicious beginning. I think it shows a priority that wasn't placed before on newer people, younger people, less experienced people getting out there in the workforce and investing in them from day one. And when you do that, you do give them opportunities, as I said to grow potentially to seek an even more advanced degree, but they still have a job to develop themselves within their their chosen profession. So, I am optimistic that this bodes well for the future. No guarantees, but it's a it's a good start."

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