BETHLEHEM, PA—Graduates from the STEM disciplines are expected to receive the highest starting salaries among Class of 2016 bachelor's degree graduates, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
NACE's Winter 2016 Salary Survey report indicates that the overall average salary for bachelor's degree graduates earning engineering degrees is projected to be $64,891, up 3 percent over the average salary projection of $62,998 for engineering graduates from the Class of 2015. (See Figure 1.)
The computer sciences fields are second in terms of starting salary, with an overall average starting salary projected at $61,321. Two of the three reported computer science disciplines also top the $60,000 mark, while the third—information science and systems—falls just below that mark at $59,810.
Degrees in math and sciences are also in high demand by employers; overall, graduates in these fields are expected to average $55,087.
Business majors land in the fourth spot in terms of starting salaries, with a projected starting average of $52,236, an increase from the projected $51,508 for Class of 2015 graduates.
Among those earning communications degrees, the average salary projection is $47,047, down 5 percent from last year's projection ($49,395). Driving that drop: All four of the majors reported for this field are projected to attract lower salaries than was the case last year.
Salaries for both agriculture/natural resources ($48,729) and healthcare ($48,712) are expected to top $48,000. However, both are down from last year when projections for agriculture/natural resources and healthcare degrees were $51,220 and $50,839, respectively.
Projected salaries are also down for those in the social sciences; overall, these graduates are expected to average $46,585, down from last year's projection of $49,047.
Humanities majors, however, are projected to see a slight increase: Their projected average salary stands at $46,065, up from $45,042. Data are limited for these graduates, but employers in finance, insurance, and real estate appear to be most interested.
Overall, education majors are expected to average $34,891. Unfortunately, there were not enough data available last year to make a comparison to the current projection possible.
About Salary Survey: The data contained in NACE's Winter 2016 Salary Survey were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from August 5, 2015, through November 6, 2015. A total of 274 surveys were returned—a 27.4 percent response rate. Of those responding, 14.2 percent of respondents were from the West, 23 percent were from the Northeast, 31 percent were from the Midwest, and 31.8 percent were from the Southeast.
An executive summary of the Winter 2016 Salary Survey report is available at www.naceweb.org/salary-resources/salary-survey.aspx.
About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media at www.naceweb.org/press-releases.aspx.
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