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  • Average Starting Salary for Class of 2016 Held Steady

    July 19, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Class of 2016 graduates.

    TAGS: compensation, salaries, trends and predictions, surveys, nace insights

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    The overall average starting salary for a Class of 2016 bachelor’s degree graduate stands at $50,359, according to results of NACEs Spring 2017 Salary Survey, the final report for the class.

    In comparison, Class of 2015 bachelor’s degree graduates closed out with an average starting salary of $50,219. As these data indicate, starting salaries are holding steady, with a gain of less than 1 percent.

    Among bachelor’s degree graduates from the Class of 2016, those who majored in the various computer science fields received the highest average starting salaries for the Class of 2016. The reported overall average for this group of majors is $71,916, a gain of 3.9 percent from last year’s overall average of $69,214.

    Engineering graduates, who are consistently high earners, are the second highest paid group of majors. Their overall average is $64,981, up 1.9 percent over last year’s average salary of $63,764.

    The overall average salary of $59,727 for mathematics and statistics graduates places them third on the list of highest paid majors. This salary is up 2 percent over last year’s average of $58,554.

    Even though graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in the business fields aren’t necessarily the highest paid, their overall average salary currently stands at $52,047 and has increased by 1.2 percent, which is more in line with the overall increase for all graduates.

    The average starting salary for graduates in the social sciences and health sciences is also on the rise and is up 14 percent from last year’s average of $40,964 to $46,749.

    Meanwhile, the average starting salary for history majors is up almost 2 percent from $38,936 to $39,618. Also staying within the $36,000 to $40,000 average salary range are foreign languages ($37,719), visual and performing arts ($38,176), and English majors ($36,180).

    Class of 2016 graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in psychology also have higher starting salaries than their Class of 2015 counterparts. Their overall average is $36,548, which is up 5 percent over last year’s average of $34 801.

    As a group, education majors have a slightly higher overall average starting salary this year at $36,557. Last year’s overall average for this group was 2.4 percent lower at $35,686.

    Data contained in NACE's Spring 2017 Salary Survey report were reported to NACE through its national Class of 2016 First-Destination Survey by 358 colleges and universities nationwide, and represent data for more than 400,000 graduates across all degree levels. Most of the analysis provided here, however, focuses on the data provided for the more than 72,900  bachelor’s degree graduates. NACE's Spring 2017 Salary Survey report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college Class of 2016, and serves as the final salary report for the Class of 2016. It is available to members in MyNACE. An executive summary report is available at

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