A new survey that sussed out the college majors with the highest starting salaries pointed to one conclusion: STEM has an immediate monetary return for the average student.
Looksharp, a company that operates Internmatch, a jobs and internship site, surveyed almost 50,000 users about their starting salaries, employment rates, and college majors.
For graduates with the highest expected salaries, computer science students led the field, followed by finance, math and statistics, economics, and accounting students.
The results echo parents who encourage their children to become engineers.
“Surveys consistently show that computer science and engineering are the surest path to the highest pay straight out of college,” Susan Adams wrote for Forbes.
Those expected earnings after graduation are close to actual earnings. Students, for the most part, are aware of their economic prospects before they graduate. STEM, business, and finance majors undervalued themselves, whereas arts and political science majors overvalued their expected salary.
Actual start salaries were similar to the highest expected salaries: students who studied computer science, engineering, mathematics and statistics, economics, and finance came out on top.
A high starting salary can help graduates quickly pay down debt or accrue enough to pay for a house, but salary increases matter as well. Sometimes, a slow start can pay off as salary increases get delayed until an employee gets established in a specific field.
For debt-conscious students, it could pay to major in a STEM field, minor in a lower-paying major, and work in a STEM field to pay off their loan before pursuing a different passion. Worried parents, it turns out, might have been right all along.