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  • Major and Industry Prime Factors in Students' Salary Expectations

    January 13, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    College students sit attend a class.

    TAGS: compensation, salaries, student attitudes, surveys, nace insights

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    The overall median salary for bachelor's degree graduates from the Class of 2015 who planned to enter the work force was $40,547, according to results of NACE's Class of 2015 Student Survey. This represents a 2.4 percent increase over the salary expectations of the Class of 2014.

    According to the survey report, two major factors that affected students' starting salary expectations are their major field of study and the industry in which they are most interested.

    As with past Student Survey data, students majoring in engineering ($61,001), computer science ($57,273), and engineering technology ($56,563) had the highest median salary expectations, and were followed by finance ($49,091), economics ($47,858), and accounting ($47,849) majors.

    Not surprisingly, the industries associated with the highest salary expectations were motor vehicle manufacturing ($61,251), and oil/gas extraction ($60,000), engineering services ($58,449), computer/electronics manufacturing ($56,563), manufacturing ($54,000), and chemical (pharmaceutical) manufacturing ($52,501).

    The Class of 2015 Student Survey was administered to 39,950 students at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels through NACE's college members from February 11, 2015, to April 30, 2015. The focus of the survey report is the 9,184 bachelor's degree students who indicated that they would be graduating—or already had graduated—during the 2014-2015 academic school year (July 1 to June 30), and were thus members of the Class of 2015. The Class of 2015 Student Survey was sponsored by Enterprise.

    Survey participants can access a full copy of the report through MyNACE.Highlights from the Class of 2015 Student Survey are available at