A matter of degree

Given the current job market, the recent news from the National Association of Colleges and Employers isn't surprising: Starting salary offers to 2010 grads are down by 2 percent compared to 2009. Hiring expectations are also down. The Association said that a graduate with bachelor's degree can expect an average salary of $48,351, down from $49,353. Worst off are liberal arts majors. Average compensation fell 11 percent to $32,555 from $36,445. And that's the average... What are they paying at Starbucks?

Highest salary offers went to undergrads majoring in petroleum engineering -- $86,220. In fact, engineers and computer science majors commanded the highest salaries, all close to or above $55,000, depending on the discipline. In general, computer science majors saw the biggest upward bump, an increase of 6 percent, while engineers' pay rose by 1.2 percent. 

Finance and accounting majors lost ground, but by less than 1 percent.  Accounting majors can expect an average $47,982 to start, while finance majors are bringing in an average of $49,607.

NACE, based in Bethlehem, conducts quarterly salary surveys, drawing information from college career offices.