College graduates who took jobs in engineering or computer sciences last year saw salary gains over 2010 and were ranked the highest paying fields for first-year hires, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, based in Allentown, Pa.
Average starting salaries in engineering and computer sciences faired the best out of nine fields, including more than 40 different college majors, said Andrea Koncz, a NACE spokesperson who compiled the Salary Survey's numbers.
Computer science graduates saw the largest increase in their average starting salaries, which rose 4.1% to $60,594 in 2011 from $58,229 in 2010.
Engineering graduates saw a smaller increase in their average starting salaries, which rose 1.5% to $61,872 in 2011 from $60,971 in 2010.
"For both of those fields, the salary increases are pretty typical of what we've been seeing over the years," said Koncz. "For engineering and computer science majors, their skill sets are more desirable because they are more specific."
The numbers reflect a national average, she said. Entry-level employees on the West Coast may have seen bigger gains.
The data used for the report came from employers in each field and were compiled through numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. The data represent accepted starting salaries, not salary offers.
NACE will provide its first look at starting salaries for the Class of 2012 in April.
Write to Damian Ghigliotty at Damian.Ghigliotty@dowjones.com