For What It's Worth

By Candi S. Cross

Upon college graduation day, they will be doing it all from executing manufacturing strategy at Northrup Grumman Corp. and overseeing logistics at U.S Postal Service to analyzing statistical data at Beckman Coulter and coordinating quality control objectives at the U.S. Department of Transportation. At most companies, the job duties of industrial engineers match the skill sets taught in classrooms, but how well-defined are salary and benefit packages these days? After all, some companies avoided the annual 3 percent pay raise during the past 12 months. Others even reduced salaries by 10 percent to 20 percent as a way to trim costs in turbulent times.

Whether you consider it a glimmer of hope or simply another data-laden employment survey, the most recent PayScale Salary Survey placed industrial engineering within the top 10 college majors that lead to high salaries. The chart is based on full-time employees in the United States who possess a bachelor’s degree with no higher degrees who majored in the subjects listed. All colleges and universities across the nation were included.

Industrial engineering earned the ninth spot while computer science and environmental engineering ranked eighth and 10th respectively. Divided into two categories – starting employees with up to two years experience and mid-career employees having about 15 years of experience – the chart reports the starting median salary at $57,100. According to The New York Times on July 21, the numbers are from 1.2 million users of PayScale’s site who self-reported their salaries and educational credentials over the last year.

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