The class of 2015 can look forward to more money in their first paychecks and more job openings than last year’s graduates saw. Multiple surveys paint a better picture for this year’s crop of graduates in terms of both starting pay and demand for workers.

At least 26% of employers in a CareerBuilder survey say they will pay new college grads at least $50,000 their first year out of school.  Engineering and computer science degrees lead the pack with each expected to draw  a starting salary above $60,000 in a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The survey indicates that a graduate with a bachelors degree in petroleum engineering will earn the most straight out of school — $80,600 on average.

That kind of demand is showing up in other disciplines as more recruiters show up on college campuses around the country this spring.

”I’m seeing a lot more competition,” Dan Black, EY’s U.S. recruiting leader, told the AP. EY (the accounting giant formerly known as Ernst & Young) plans to hire 9,000 college graduates this year.

Overall, companies are expected to increase their hiring of college grads by 16% this year over last year based on a survey last fall by Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, according to AP.

“Even arts and humanities are making a comeback,” Institute Director Philip Gardner told AP.

And even though humanities degrees are at the lowest end of the average pay scale in the NACE survey, the average starting pay for a graduate is still $45,042 a year — $2,000 more than the average compensation for all workers in the U.S. just two years ago.

Photo by Herkie (CC) / Story tip from carilyn

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