NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition®
mobile menu
  • Salary Survey: The Early Drivers of Class of 2016 Gains

    November 16, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    College students await their graduation.

    TAGS: salaries, nace insights

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Bachelor’s-degree graduates from the Class of 2016 have seen starting salaries that average $52,569, which is 3.8 percent more than the overall average salary reported for the Class of 2015 at this time last year, according to results of NACE’s Fall 2016 Salary Survey.

    The primary drivers for the overall salary increase for Class of 2016 bachelor’s-degree graduates at this early juncture are the average starting salaries of several majors—computer sciences, engineering, and mathematics and statistics.

    Computer sciences majors—the highest-paid in this report—helped to carry the class’s overall salary upward. These majors notched an overall average starting salary of $71,534, which is almost 9 percent higher than their Class of 2015 counterparts saw at this time last year. (See Figure 1.)

    Also pulling up the average for the Class of 2016 are the average starting salaries for engineering ($66,121), and mathematics and statistics ($62,985) graduates, both of which topped $60,000 and were significant increases from the average salaries report for these graduates Class of 2015 graduates

    It is important to understand that these preliminary salaries are early indicators, and are based on the early results of NACE’s Class of 2016 First-Destination Survey.

    The data contained in NACE's Fall 2016 Salary Survey report were collected from July 25, 2016, through September 12, 2016, and were provided by 38 colleges and universities nationwide that are participants of NACE’s national First-Destination Survey. The data represent actual starting salary data for Class of 2016 graduates (those who graduated July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016). Final starting salary data for the Class of 2016 will be available in the Spring 2017 Salary Survey. Salary projections for the Class of 2017 will be available in the Winter 2017 Salary Survey. An executive summary of the Fall 2016 Salary Survey report is available at

    Figure 1: Top-Paid Majors for Class of 2016 Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

    Broad Category 2016 Average Salary 2015 Average Salary Percent Change in Average Salary
    Computer and Information Sciences $71,534 $65,849 8.6%
    Engineering $66,121 $61,819 7.0%
    Mathematics and Statistics $62,985 $54,485 15.6%
    Business $53,836 $49,536 8.7%
    Health Sciences $52,074 $43,173 20.6%
    Source: Fall 2016 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. All data are for bachelor’s degree graduates and represent preliminary results.