College graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2021 saw a modest salary increase compared to the previous class. Their overall average salary is $55,911, which is 1.2% higher than the average for the class of 2020, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

“The fact that the increase in starting salary is small may simply be a case of timing, as the class of 2021 was still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the job market,” says Shawn VanDerziel, executive director of the association. “Vaccines were not readily available to the public until early 2021, so the job market for new college graduates was not as robust as it currently is.”

For example, employers planned to hire 7.2% more graduates from the class of 2021 than they did from the class of 2020. Just one year later, the planned hiring increase for the class of 2022 exceeded 30%.

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