The Job Hunt: Your Major May Make All the Difference

Oct 15, 2010

Like most college students, you're probably hunting for a job, or worrying about finding one after graduation. It turns out that your academic major may be the biggest factor in whether you find yourself employed by the time you graduate. Read on to find out which majors are getting the most job offers.

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Accounting for Employment

Are you an accounting or business major? Good choice, because you're in the one of the fields most likely to garner you a job offer before graduation.

Results from the 2010 Student Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicate that academic major is the most predictive factor in determining which students receive job offers before graduation.

10 Most Employable Majors*

Academic Major % of Respondents Who Received Job Offer
Accounting 46.9%
Business 45.4%
Computer / Information Science 44.1%
Engineering 41%
Social Sciences 40.5%
Mathematics 39.7%
Visual & Performing Arts 39.7%
Health Sciences 38.7%
Liberal Arts / Humanities 37.1%
Communications / Journalism 35.2%

*Source: NACE 2010 Student Survey

Surprised to see the liberal arts in the top 10? Check out our list of 10 hot careers in the humanities.

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Any Degree Is Better Than No Degree

While the recession has certainly affected the total number of jobs out there, it does not seem to have affected which majors are most attractive to employers. The 2010 results are consistent with results from past NACE Student Surveys, suggesting that fluctuations in the job market don't change the bottom line: Degrees in vocational fields like business and accounting are the fastest route to a job.

However, the NACE notes that the economy may affect which majors are the least in demand. This year, English, education and foreign language students fared the worst. Under 30% of respondents in these fields reported receiving a job offer before graduation.

If you've chosen one of the less employable majors, don't despair. Simply having a bachelor's degree will make it easier for you to find a job. According to the College Board, the unemployment gap between individuals with and without a college degree jumped from 2.3 to 5.1 percentage points between 2007 and 2009. Median earnings for 4-year college graduates also climbed faster than those of high school graduates in that two-year period.

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