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  • Class of 2017’s Overall Starting Salary Shows Little Gain

    July 16, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Class of 2017 college graduates gain little in starting salaries.

    TAGS: compensation, salaries, surveys, nace insights

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    The overall average starting salary for the Class of 2017 is $50,516, up just 0.3 percent over last year’s final average starting salary of $50,359 for the Class of 2016, according to results of NACE’s Summer 2018 Salary Survey.

    Compared to the average salary of $50,219 for the Class of 2015, salaries have grown less than 1 percent over the past two years.

    Class of 2017 bachelor’s degree graduates earning the highest average starting salaries are those who majored in various computer science fields. This marks the third consecutive year for these particular graduates to be the top paid of all reported disciplines. Despite this, the reported overall average for this group of majors is $72,677, just 1.1 percent higher than last year’s average of $71,916.

    Engineering graduates are also highly paid in this report and have an overall average starting salary of $65,539. Like the overall average for bachelor’s degree graduates, their salary is barely 1 percent higher than last year’s average of $64,981.

    Mathematics and statistics graduates are the only other group of majors with an average starting salary that tops the $60,000 mark. The overall average salary for this group is $60,631, up 1.5 percent over last year’s average of $59,727.

    The average starting salaries for bachelor’s degree business majors follow the same overall trend this year, rising just 0.8 percent from $52,047 to $52,456.

    Health sciences majors are boasting one of the highest increases to their overall average starting salaries in this report. Their overall average salary is $53,872, an increase of 7.5 percent above last year’s average salary of $50,124.

    Average starting salaries for graduates earning degrees in the social sciences are nearly unchanged. The overall average salary for the group stands at $46,707, just 0.1 percent lower than last year’s average of $46,749.

    The nearly 2 percent increase in average starting salary for history majors last year is back down to where it was two years ago, dropping 1.6 percent to $38,997 from $39,618. Other majors with average salaries just below $40,000 are communications majors ($38,897), visual and performing arts majors ($37,887), and English majors ($37,825).

    The Summer 2018 Salary Survey report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college Class of 2017, and serves as the final salary report for the Class of 2017. Data were gathered from Class of 2017 graduates through December 31, 2017, and reported to NACE through May 25, 2018. The salary data were reported to NACE through its national Class of 2017 First-Destination Survey by approximately 366 colleges and universities nationwide, and represent data for slightly more than 695,000 graduates at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels. The analysis provided here focuses on the data provided for more than 81,800 bachelor’s degree graduates. The Summer 2018 Salary Survey report is available to members in MyNACE. An executive summary report is available at

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