UH grads garner high
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.