If you’ve been keeping up with the news during the past few months, you already know that COVID-19 hit the labor market pretty hard in 2020. Millions of people lost jobs or experienced a reduction in pay, so if you’ve been considering earning your degree, you may be wondering whether your post-graduation salary will be affected. You might be surprised to learn that the news is good! Starting salary projections for the class of 2021 show mild to moderate increases in all disciplines, so now’s a great time to think about going back to school. Wondering what you can expect to make?
What is the expected starting salary by major for students graduating in 2021?
Well, according to the National Association of College and Employers, it depends on the professional sphere you plan to work in. Check out the table below to see the average starting salary a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn in each field.
|Computer Sciences: $72,173|
|Math & Sciences: $63,316|
|Social Sciences: $59,919|
|Ag. & Natural Resources:$54,857|
As you can see, if you’ve decided to earn your degree and are looking to maximize your return on your investment as quickly as possible, majoring in a STEM field is likely to offer you the most bang for your buck--at least from a financial perspective.
What is considered a good starting salary right out of college?
That said, it’s important to remember that when it comes to evaluating a job offer, salary isn’t everything. Knowing the average salary for your field and experience level is helpful when you’re negotiating, but understand that employers see salary as just one part of a total package. When you’re reviewing an offer with a potential employer, consider the following things in addition to the number on your paycheck:
- Health and wellness benefits
- Retirement contributions and plans
- Leave and flexible scheduling
- Professional development or continuing education opportunities
- Company culture and workplace perks
The truth is that, for most of us, the amount of money a job pays matters quite a bit. But if you accept a job that makes you miserable just for the money, you might decide it isn’t worth it and then have to start a job search all over again. When you’re looking for a job right out of college, remember that it’s just the first stepping stone on a long and successful career path that lies ahead.
That’s why you should look for a job that offers you the opportunity to grow. Mid-career salaries tend to vary widely by discipline, so if you’re wondering what jobs you can expect to pay you the most later on, check out some of the highest paying college majors. Whatever you choose, remember that salary isn’t the only thing that will determine your quality of life.
With starting salaries in all professions on the rise, it’s the perfect time to start your degree or finish one you’ve already begun. Now that you’re prepared with the right knowledge and expectations, you’ll be ready to negotiate an offer that works for you.
Anissa Sorokin, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English and Writing Program Administrator at Stevenson University near Baltimore, Maryland. Anissa’s interdisciplinary background and extensive experience teaching research, writing, and study skills help her demystify college expectations for students online and in her classroom.
Looking for tips on successfully interviewing during a pandemic? Check out this great article: HOW TO ACE YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW DURING COVID