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  • Preliminary Salary for Class of 2018 Grads Holds Steady

    BETHLEHEM, PA—The average starting salary paid to Class of 2018 college graduates is showing little change from that paid to their Class of 2017 counterparts, according to results of a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). At this early juncture, however, data are preliminary and limited.

    Results of NACE’s Fall 2018 Salary Survey indicate that the preliminary average starting salary for Class of 2018 graduates is $50,004. This represents a 2 percent drop from last year’s preliminary salary ($51,022) for the Class of 2017 and is 1 percent less than the final salary ($50,516) reported for Class of 2017 graduates.

    This year, the top-paid major category remains computer and information sciences, but the current overall average salary is down slightly—from $74,183 last year to $73,768 this year. (See Figure 1.)

    Salaries for Class of 2018 engineering graduates appear to be rebounding from last year, when the overall salary fell 2.4 percent. This year, the overall average salary for this group ($65,455) is up 1.4 percent over last year’s average ($64,530).

    Mathematics/statistics graduates are experiencing the largest recovery in average salary. Currently at $65,349, the overall average starting salary stands 22.7 percent higher than last year’s ($53,259). This significant change can be attributed to both the low number of salaries reported at this time, and the large differences in starting salaries for both individual mathematics and statistics majors.

    The average starting salary for Class of 2018 business majors begins slightly lower this year at an average of $51,872; however, the drop is less than 1 percent from last year’s starting salary of $52,124.

    Health sciences majors show the second largest increase to their overall average salary, which is up 4.2 percent (from $50,564 to $52,711).

    Graduates earning degrees in the physical sciences, e.g. chemistry, physics, and geology, have average starting salaries that start 10 percent lower this year. Their current overall average starting salary is $42,474, down from $47,026 last year.

    Figure 1: Changes in preliminary reported average starting salaries, 2018 and 2017

    Broad Category 2018 Average Salary 2017 Average Salary Percent Change
    Computer and information science $73,768 $74,183 -0.6%
    Engineering $65,455 $64,530 1.4%
    Engineering technologies $57,267 $57,619 -0.6%
    Multi/interdisciplinary studies $48,966 $54,426 -10.0%
    Mathematics and statistics $65,349 $53,259 22.7%
    Business $51,872 $52,124 -0.5%
    Health professions and related programs $52,711 $50,564 4.2%
    Physical sciences $42,474 $47,026 -9.7%
    Source: Fall 2018 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About Salary Survey: The Fall 2018 Salary Survey report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college Class of 2018. Data were collected from July 25, 2018, through September 7, 2018, and were provided by 71 colleges and universities nationwide that participate in NACE’s national First-Destination Survey. The data are preliminary salaries for Class of 2018 graduates in the date range July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018. The final salary numbers for the Class of 2018 will be released in the Summer 2019 Salary Survey report. An executive summary of the Fall 2018 Salary Survey report is available at A report on the Class of 2017 First-Destination Survey will be available in the fall.

    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.