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  • The Top-Paid Majors for the Class of 2018

    January 08, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Compensation
    A group of college graduates hold their diplomas.

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    In terms of starting salary projections for the Class of 2018, employers expect to make students earning engineering, computer science, and math and sciences degrees the top-paid graduates at the bachelor’s-degree level, according to NACE’s Winter 2018 Salary Survey report.

    These fields were also in high demand among employers responding to the NACE’s Job Outlook 2018 survey.

    The salary and increase projections for the two highest-paid majors—engineering and computer science—are nearly identical. (See Figure 1.) With an overall average salary projection of $66,521, engineering graduates are once again expected to be the highest paid. However, with a gain of less than 1 percent over last year’s average projection of $66,097 for Class of 2017 graduates, their average remains essentially flat.

    Similarly, the average salary for Class of 2018 computer science graduates is expected to be $66,005, which also is an increase of less than 1 percent over last year’s average salary projection of $65,540.

    Meanwhile, math and science graduates are expected to see a more significant increase. These graduates are projected to earn salaries that average $61,867, which is up 4.2 percent over last year’s average of $59,368. Although data are extremely limited, the increase for math and science graduates overall is driven by the average salary projection of $69,900 for students specifically earning physics degrees. Last year, these particular graduates had an average salary projection of $64,438.

    The Winter 2018 Salary Survey contains annual salary projections for Class of 2018 college graduates. Data from the survey were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from August 9, 2017, through December 4, 2017. A total of 196 surveys were returned—a 23.9 percent response rate. NACE members can access the full report through MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Average Salary by Discipline, Bachelor’s Degrees

    Broad Category Average Salary
    Engineering $66,521
    Computer Science $66,005
    Math & Sciences $61,867
    Business $56,720
    Social Sciences $56,689
    Humanities $56,688
    Agriculture & Natural Resources $53,565
    Communications $51,448
    Source: Winter 2018 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers