DETROIT Job prospects haven't been this good for liberal arts graduates in years.
Liberal arts graduates can expect to be more fervently sought after this year and to be offered better salaries, according to the 30th annual recruiting trends survey conducted by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University.
Among the reasons: Earlier-than-predicted retirements of the oldest baby boomers have opened jobs of all kinds.
Also, with the high-tech industry booming, employers in recent years have changed their attitudes about liberal arts majors, said Terri LaMarco, associate director for employer relations at the University of Michigan.
"I think what they are seeing is that liberal arts majors can fill some of the positions that used to be considered technical," LaMarco said.
She noted that such graduates can be trained to do programming, for example.
A total of 380 employers primarily in the manufacturing and professional services sectors responded to the survey.
Continuing a four-year period of frenzied growth, the job market for students receiving undergraduate or advanced degrees of any kind in 2001 will expand 6 percent to 10 percent compared with the year before, the survey found. It gave no breakdown for those with liberal arts degrees.
Engineering and computer science graduates, who have had it good for several years, will continue to have it good, according to the survey.
They still will be atop the pay scale with starting salaries between $45,000 and $50,000, the survey said.
Programmers will be in demand, the survey said, with starting salaries expected to increase 5 percent to $43,700.
Graduates at the more modest end of the hiring pay scale, such as liberal arts majors, will see their average starting salaries push into the lower $30,000s, the survey said.