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Top Entry-Level Majors

This article accompanies School Daze.

Monday, March 1, 2010
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Human Resources ranked 20th on the list of Top Entry-Level Majors, according to a survey by CollegeGrad.com.

Employers were asked to rank criteria in order of importance for hiring consideration and asked to break down their number of projected hires by major.

While no single engineering degree made it into the Top 5, collectively, engineering majors came in at No. 2, and will account for nearly 13 percent of entry-level hires in 2008, the last year the survey data appears on the CollegeGrad Web site. The top engineering degree was electrical engineering at 3.5 percent, followed closely by mechanical engineering at 3.2 percent.

Why are these highly skilled degrees so employable? Positions in industries such as accounting and engineering require a defined skill set, typically met only by specific majors, according to CollegeGrad.com.

For example, in 2008, the Big Four accounting firms planned to hire nearly 13,000 college grads, most of whom are accounting majors. That number is further boosted by mid-size and smaller accounting firms, banking firms, financial firms, and even non-accounting firms who hire accounting majors for in house positions. Similarly, firms such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman each hire thousands of engineers each year.

In contrast, the required skill sets for general business openings are typically more diversified soft skills, and more easily filled by a variety of majors. Plenty of firms outside of the accounting and engineering fields also hire thousands of college grads, but those numbers are generally split among a variety of majors.

Top Entry Level Majors

Accounting: 22.87 percent

All Engineering: 12.59 percent

Marketing: 10.76 percent

Computer Science: 9.54 percent

Business Administration: 8.91 percent

Finance / Banking: 5.99 percent

Management: 5.53 percent

Hospitality / Hotel / Restaurant Management: 3.61 percent

Electrical Engineering: 3.45 percent

Mechanical Engineering: 3.23 percent

Communications: 3.18 percent

Information Systems / MIS: 2.91 percent

Liberal Arts / Art / Music: 2.75 percent

Civil Engineering: 2.20 percent

Psychology: 2.05 percent

Education: 1.87 percent

Chemical Engineering: 1.64 percent

Environmental Engineering: 1.47 percent

Math / Actuarial / Statistics: 1.12 percent

Human Resources: 0.90 percent

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Sociology / Social Work: 0.72 percent

Biology / Biological Science: 0.56 percent

Public Relations: 0.56 percent

Criminal Justice: 0.51 percent

Chemistry: 0.50 percent

Geology / Geophysics: 0.46 percent

History: 0.44 percent

Health / Allied Health: 0.41 percent

Aeronautical Engineering: 0.41 percent

Foreign Language / Literature: 0.39 percent

Journalism: 0.36 percent

Physics: 0.25 percent

Nuclear Engineering: 0.19 percent

Agriculture / Agribusiness: 0.13 percent

Zoology: 0.06 percent

Nursing: 0.05 percent

CollegeGrad.com is an entry-level job site. Established in 1995, CollegeGrad.com has been conducting the Top Entry Level Employers Survey since 1997. A copy of the full survey is available here. It is currently compiling information on the top entry-level jobs in 2010. Employers can fill out that survey here.

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