Starting salaries need to slow down

November 11th, 2010

Like most seniors, I have one eye on making sure I do everything I need to graduate and one eye toward what’s next, whether it be graduate school or going out and finding a job.

If I decide to go look for employment, I often wonder what kind of money I have the potential to make. According to the unscientific survey that was conducted by, communications majors enter the workforce with an average salary of $42,300. 

The site didn’t disclose much, other than the fact that $42,300 was the average starting salary for the 516 recent graduates with communications degrees they polled.

For you accounting majors, the hard work in the Boler School may pay off as the 377 accounting majors reported an average starting salary of $53,838.

I wished, for a second at least, that I had considered a degree in business. But later that night when watching ESPN, I heard an analyst say that Sam Bradford, the top overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, was celebrating his 23rd birthday.

Bradford’s working his first job and his salary is a wee bit higher than most of ours will be – to the tune of $86 million over six years.

He’s a 6-foot-4 gifted athlete that has a rocket for an arm and a skill set that is in extremely high demand. But $86 million for what he’s done in college?

So far Bradford has impressed and looks like five years from now, he could be in the conversation to be the best quarterback in the NFL.

But five years from now, couldn’t an accountant be the best CPA in his entire firm? Couldn’t an education major be the best teacher in America? 

They certainly could be … but they also could fall flat on their faces and be a failure. That’s why you start with a bottom salary and work your way up.

The NFL has it all backwards in paying kids straight out of college more than the best in the business. For Bradford to make more than $14 million while Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees makes $10 million is insane.

A lockout in the near future may be inevitable, and a rookie pay scale has to be one of the first things discussed. Nowhere else in the world would a kid out of college make more than someone at the top of their craft. That needs to be changed.

Contact Tim Ertle at