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  • Class of 2018’s Preliminary Starting Salary Shows Slight Drop

    October 10, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Young professionals from the class of 2018 at work.

    TAGS: compensation, salaries, surveys, nace insights

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    Once again, salaries paid to new college graduates are showing little movement. According to results of NACE’s Fall 2018 Salary Survey, the preliminary average starting salary for Class of 2018 graduates stands at $50,004, which is 2 percent less than last year’s preliminary salary ($51,022) for the Class of 2017 and down 1 percent from the final salary ($50,516) reported for Class of 2017 graduates last summer.

    It’s important to note, however, that the results for Class of 2018 graduates are based upon early outcome reports; at this early juncture, the volume of data is not as significant as the final figures reported almost a full year after graduation in the summer.

    The top-paid major category this year remains computer and information sciences, but the current overall average salary is down slightly from $74,183 last year to $73,768 this year. (See Figure 1.)

    Salaries for Class of 2018 engineering graduates appear to be rebounding from last year, when the overall salary fell 2.4 percent. This year, the overall average salary for this group ($65,455) is up 1.4 percent over last year’s average ($64,530).

    Mathematics/statistics graduates are experiencing the largest recovery in average salary. Currently at $65,349, the overall average starting salary stands 22.7 percent higher than last year’s ($53,259). This significant change can be attributed to both the low number of salaries reported at this time, and the large differences in starting salaries for both individual mathematics and statistics majors.

    The average starting salary for Class of 2018 business majors begins slightly lower this year at an average of $51,872; however, the drop is less than 1 percent from last year’s starting salary of $52,124.

    Health sciences majors show the second largest increase to their overall average salary, which is up 4.2 percent (from $50,564 to $52,711).

    Graduates earning degrees in the physical sciences, e.g. chemistry, physics, and geology, have average starting salaries that start 10 percent lower this year. Their current overall average starting salary is $42,474, down from $47,026 last year.

    The Fall 2018 Salary Survey report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college Class of 2018. Data were collected from July 25, 2018, through September 7, 2018, and were provided by 71 colleges and universities nationwide that participate in NACE’s national First-Destination Survey. The data are preliminary salaries for Class of 2018 graduates in the date range July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018. The Fall 2018 Salary Survey report will be available later this fall.

    Figure 1: Changes in preliminary reported average starting salaries, 2018 and 2017

    Broad Category 2018 Average Salary 2017 Average Salary Percent Change
    Computer and information science $73,768 $74,183 -0.6%
    Engineering $65,455 $64,530 1.4%
    Engineering technologies $57,267 $57,619 -0.6%
    Multi/interdisciplinary studies $48,966 $54,426 -10.0%
    Mathematics and statistics $65,349 $53,259 22.7%
    Business $51,872 $52,124 -0.5%
    Health professions and related programs $52,711 $50,564 4.2%
    Physical sciences $42,474 $47,026 -9.7%
    Source: Fall 2018 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers
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