Tuesday, September 25, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 24


UH grads garner high salary offers

By Ken Fountain
Daily Cougar Staff

While UH students planning to graduate in the next year may have a harder time landing a job than their most recent counterparts, they can take
heart in the fact that they should be able to command a higher-than-average salary.

That's according to the results of the latest UH Campus Recruitment Salary Survey, released Monday by University Career Services.

UH graduates received higher salary offers in six of 10 business disciplines and five of nine engineering disciplines where comparative data of
national averages was available, according to Assistant Vice President for Student Services David Small.

The survey is based on data received from UH graduates or employers who participated in the UCS-sponsored campus recruiting service
during the past 2000-01 academic year.

The UH data is then compared to national salary data for college graduates during the same period as reported by the National Association of
Colleges and Employers, an organization based in Bethlehem, Penn., which provides research and information to more than 1,800 college
career services centers nationwide.

The NACE data (which is released three times a year) is compiled from 149 college career services offices from schools as diverse as Columbia
University, Dartmouth College and the Colorado School of Mines. The UH report is based on comparison to NACE data released in July. The
organization released its latest report Sept. 17.

The field in which UH graduates did the best in terms of salary offers in the past year was civil engineering. Those graduates were offered an
average starting salary of $48,564, $7,948 more than the national average of $40,616 (or above the 90th percentile).

Employers offered UH Management Information Systems graduates an average of $49,714 to start, $4,129 more than the national average of
$45,585 (above the 70th percentile).

UH electrical engineering graduates were offered $54,400, $2,590 more than the national average of $51,910 (also above the 70th percentile).

Small said 74.5 percent of all salary offers to undergraduates through campus recruiting went to business or engineering majors. For UH, those
majors accounted for 76 percent of all salary offers.

UH graduates did not do as well in other categories. Merchandise/ industrial distribution technology majors started at $29,167 ($18,908 less
than the national average), business management majors received an average starting salary of $34,230 ($4,219 less than average) and
computer science majors received $49,139 ($3,584 less than average).

The fact that UH is an urban commuter school is actually an advantage to its graduates, Small said.

"Many of our students work before they graduate. That is illustrated by the fact that our surveys show that 75 percent of our students work while
enrolled, which is well above the national average, 58 percent at any one time," he said.

"Not only that, but their work is often related to what they'll be doing once they graduate. That's one of the strengths of an urban institution
there are a large variety of jobs to choose from that are related to their career goals. It allows them to bring to the table some real-world
experience," Small said.

He added that his office receives a lot of feedback from employers saying they appreciate the higher level of maturity UH graduates bring to the

The overall good news for UH graduates was tempered by the fact that during the recent economic downturn, companies have begun to pare
down their hiring.

In its Job Outlook 2002 survey, released Aug. 27, NACE reported that the employers it surveyed expect to hire 19.7 percent fewer graduates in
2001-2002 than they did last year.

"We saw the beginning of a downturn last spring, and a slight downturn in companies coming to campus (to recruit)," Small said. "Companies
seem to have met their hiring needs, and now they're overstaffed."

He said that some UH graduates reported that companies who recruited at UH would hire them, but not allow them to start for eight to 12
months. He added that hiring trends tend to run in cycles of two or three years.

While graduates in the business and engineering fields command the highest starting salaries, Small offered students in the humanities some

"Those in the humanities have the most difficult time right out of college. They often don't feel that they bring marketable skills," Small said.

"But after about seven years, they start (to) catch up in terms of salary and mobility. Their skills good communication skills, writing,
problem-solving don't become obsolete," he said, while people in the more technical fields must continually adapt to new technologies.

"Good humanities students tend to become leaders. It takes a little longer for them to find their niche, but they do just as well in the long-term," he

Small emphasized that salary levels are only one factor to be used in making a career choice.

"Salary should be lower on the totem pole in terms of career choice. What's important is to find a major that you enjoy, that is challenging and
you see yourself spending a career (doing). Career satisfaction is as important as security. Ideally, you'd like to find both, but you can't neglect
one for the other," Samll said.

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