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  • Starting Salary for Class of 2018 Hovers Near $51,000

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Bachelor’s degree graduates from the college Class of 2018 earned an overall average starting salary of $50,944, according to the Summer 2019 Salary Survey report published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    That overall average is less than 1 percent from the overall average of $50,516 posted by the Class of 2017 and is the latest illustration of sluggish growth in salaries for new college graduates in recent years. In fact, the overall average starting salary for new college graduates (bachelor’s degree level) is up just 1.4 percent from the Class of 2015’s average of $50,219.

    For the last three years, computer science graduates have been the top earners among all disciplines. While this remains true for the Class of 2018, the overall average starting salary for these graduates ($71,411) is down 1.7 percent from the average for the Class of 2017 ($72,677).

    The average starting salary for Class of 2018 engineering graduates—$66,638—has bumped up 1.7 percent from $65,539 for the Class of 2017.

    Rounding out the STEM disciplines, mathematics and statistics majors once again have average starting salaries that exceed $60,000. The Class of 2018’s average of $61,709 is 1.8 percent higher than that for the Class of 2017 ($60,631).

    The overall average for Class of 2018 business graduates remains flat. At $52,040, it is down 0.8 percent from the Class of 2017’s average ($52,456) and is nearly identical to the overall average salary for Class of 2016 business graduates ($52,047).

    Last year, Class of 2017 health sciences majors experienced one of the highest increases in average starting salary when their overall average ($53,872) came in 7.5 percent higher than the previous year. Class of 2018 health sciences graduates aren’t quite as fortunate as, at $52,076, their average starting salary is down 3.3 percent.

    Showing a minimal gain, the overall average for Class of 2018 social sciences graduates has moved up just 0.2 percent to $46,797 from the average salary for these graduates from the Class of 2017 ($46,707).

    Figure 1: Starting Salaries by Discipline for Class of 2018 Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

    Broad Category Average Salary
    Computer science $71,411
    Engineering $66,638
    Math and statistics $61,709
    Health sciences $52,076
    Business $52,040
    Social sciences $46,797
    Source: Summer 2019 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About Salary Survey: The report provides actual starting salaries (not projections) for the college Class of 2018, and serves as the final salary report for the Class of 2018. The figures reported are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates. The data contained in NACE’s Summer 2019 Salary Survey report were reported to NACE through its national Class of 2018 First-Destination Survey by approximately 350 colleges and universities nationwide, and represent data for almost 693,500 graduates at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels. Most of the analysis, however, focuses on the data provided for more than 82,850 bachelor’s degree graduates. An executive summary of the Summer 2019 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 www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.