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  • Engineering, Computer Science Command Highest Salaries for College Class of 2018

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Class of 2018 graduates earning engineering and computer science degrees are expected to command the highest starting salaries at the bachelor’s-degree level, according to results of a new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    According to NACE’s Winter 2018 Salary Survey report, engineering majors are projected to average $66,521, while computer science graduates are expected to average $66,005. Those averages represent very little change from the salaries projected for Class of 2017 graduates in those fields; both are up less than 1 percent. (See Figure 1.)

    Other majors fared better in terms of projected increases in their starting salaries. Those earning degrees in the humanities are expected to see the biggest increase, with a 16.3 percent hike in salary for an average of $56,688. Social sciences graduates are expected to earn an average of $56,689 this year, up 6 percent from last year’s average. Math and science graduates are expected to earn salaries that average $61,867, a jump of 4.2 percent over last year’s average. Meanwhile, business majors saw their overall average salary projection climb 3.5 percent to $56,720.

    On the other side, Class of 2018 agriculture and natural resources graduates and communications graduates are projected to earn lower average starting salaries than did their Class of 2017 counterparts. However, the decreases are minimal.

    Agriculture and natural resources graduates are expected to earn an average of $53,565, which is down just 1.5 percent from last year. Similarly, the overall average starting salary projection of $51,448 for communications graduates dropped less than 1 percent from last year’s projection.

    Figure 1: Average salary projection by discipline, 2018 and 2017

    Broad Category
    2018 Projected Average Salary 2017 Projected Average Salary
    Engineering $66,521 $66,097
    Computer science $66,005 $65,540
    Math & sciences $61,867 $59,368
    Business $56,720 $54,803
    Social sciences $56,689 $53,459
    Humanities $56,688 $48,733
    Agriculture & natural resources $53,565 $54,364
    Communications $51,448 $51,925
    Source: Winter 2018 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. All data are for bachelor’s degrees.

    About Salary Survey: The data contained in NACE's Winter 2018 Salary Survey were collected from August 9, 2017, through December 4, 2017. A total of 196 surveys were returned—a 23.9 percent response rate. Of those responding, 14.8 percent of respondents were from the West, 25.5 percent were from the Northeast, 25 percent were from the Southeast, and 34.7 percent were from the Midwest.

    An executive summary of the Winter 2018 Salary Survey report is available on the NACE website.

    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 NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.