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).

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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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