January 11, 2017 | By NACE Staff
TAGS: compensation, salaries, spotlight
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Employers anticipate making engineering, computer science, and math and sciences majors the top-paid graduates from the Class of 2017, according to NACE’s Winter 2017 Salary Survey report.
Engineering graduates are expected to be the highest paid from the Class of 2017 with an overall average salary projection of $66,097. (See Figure 1.) With one of the more modest gains among Class of 2017 graduates, engineering majors are expected to earn almost 2 percent more than Class of 2016 engineering graduates. The driver of the overall gains for this group is the fact that all of the individual reported engineering majors have average salary projections that exceed $60,000.
Likewise, graduates earning computer science degrees will be substantially paid with an overall average salary projection of $65,540, which is up almost 7 percent from last year.
At $59,368, math and science degrees are third in terms of highest salary projections for the Class of 2017. Their overall average salary projection is up 7.8 percent over last year’s. Specific math/statistics majors—who have the most salaries reported in this group—notched an average salary projection of $60,153, up 5.6 percent from last year.
The average salary projection for Class of 2017 business majors is $54,803. This year’s projection is an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year’s average of $52,236. Of the reported business disciplines, management information systems majors hold the highest average starting salary projection ($59,642).
The Class of 2017 graduates with the highest projected increases in average starting salary are social sciences and communications graduates. The projection for social sciences graduates—$53,459—has climbed almost 15 percent over last year’s projection. The salary projection for economics majors is driving the overall surge; their current projection of $56,678 is exactly 15 percent higher than last year’s.
Meanwhile, the projected average salary for graduates who will earn degrees in the communications fields is $51,925, which is up 10 percent over last year’s average.
Salaries for humanities graduates are also projected to be on the rise, although not as dramatically. The average salary projection of $48,733 for the Class of 2017 is up 5.8 percent over last year’s average projection.
Data contained in NACE’s Winter 2017 Salary Survey report are annual salary projections for Class of 2017 college graduates and were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from August 5, 2016, through November 30, 2016. The figures reported are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates. Final starting salary data for the Class of 2016 will be available in the Spring 2017 Salary Survey. An executive summary of the Winter 2017 Salary Survey report will be available in January.
Figure 1: Average Salaries by Discipline/Bachelor's Degrees
Overall unemployment rate
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Unemployment rate, bachelor’s degree grads age 20 – 24
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average projected starting salary, 2017 humanities major
Winter 2017 Salary Survey
Average starting salary, Class of 2016 bachelor’s degree graduate
Spring 2017 Salary Survey
Percent of Class of 2015 bachelor’s degree grads employed or pursuing more education
Class of 2015 First-Destination Survey report