Top 5 Industries For New College Grads

home care nurseBy Debra Auerbach

A college major gives a student direction and builds a foundation of knowledge for his future career. Yet it doesn't always define what industry he'll work in post-college. For instance, a journalism major may end up working as a communications director in the health-care industry, or a business major one day may run an art gallery.

As the economy continues to improve, certain industries are bouncing back more quickly than others. Students whose majors give them the flexibility to work in different industries should pay attention to industries that are hiring, especially those that are hiring new college graduates. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' January 2013 Salary Survey, certain industries are hiring more 2012 bachelor's degree grads than others.

Below are the top five industries that reported the highest number of new graduate entrants for 2012 bachelor's degree grads, along with the number of new entrants, the average starting pay for those workers and the top major that's being hired into the industry.

1. Educational services: This sector includes establishments, such as schools, colleges, universities and training centers, which provide instruction and training in a wide variety of subjects.*
  • Number of new grad entrants: 444,500
  • Average starting pay: $39,879
  • Top major hired into the industry: Biological sciences/life sciences

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2. Professional, scientific and technical services: These activities require a high degree of expertise and training. Examples of activities performed in this sector include accounting, bookkeeping, payroll services, architectural, engineering and computer services.
  • Number of new grad entrants: 289,400
  • Average starting pay: $48,035
  • Top major hired into the industry: Business administration/management

3. Health care and social assistance: This industry comprises establishments providing health care and social assistance for individuals. It includes both health care and social assistance, because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the boundaries of these activities.
  • Number of new grad entrants: 269,100
  • Average starting pay: $42,309
  • Top major hired into the industry: Nursing

More:You Won't Believe The Starting Salaries For 2012 Liberal Arts Grads

4. Federal, state and local government: This sector consists of establishments of federal, state and local government agencies that administer, oversee and manage public programs and have executive, legislative or judicial authority over other institutions within a given area. It excludes state and local schools and hospitals and the U.S. postal service.
  • Number of new grad entrants: 191,900
  • Average starting pay: $44,863
  • Top major hired into the industry: Criminal justice and corrections

5. Finance and insurance: This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in financial transactions -- transactions involving the creation, liquidation or change in ownership of financial assets -- and/or in facilitating financial transactions.
  • Number of new grad entrants: 96,700
  • Average starting pay: $52,741
  • Top major hired into the industry: Business administration/management

*Information from the NACE January 2013 Salary Survey and the Census Bureau's North American Industry Classification System.

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