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  • Starting Salary Projections Flat for Class of 2020 Top-Earning Degrees

    BETHLEHEM, PA—Early projections show that the salaries for the top-earning majors for the Class of 2020 have leveled off, according to a new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    NACE’s Winter 2020 Salary Survey reveals that starting salaries for engineering, computer science, and math and sciences majors appear to be flat compared to the same time a year ago. It is important to note, however, that these projections come at an early point in the salary-reporting cycle for the Class of 2020.   

    Among these three disciplines, engineering majors have the largest change in average starting salary projections. The current projection for Class of 2020 engineering graduates is $69,961, which is up just 1.1 percent from last year’s salary projection at this time. (See Figure 1.)

    The average salary projections for Class of 2020 computer science (down 0.2 percent to $67,411) and math and sciences (up 0.5 percent to $62,488) graduates are consistent with the projections last year at this time.

    Likewise, business ($57,939) and social sciences ($57,425) majors are also projected to see salaries in line with last year’s projections, while communications graduates ($56,484) from the Class of 2020 are expected to see the largest increase in average starting salaries—8.5 percent.

    Meanwhile, salaries for humanities ($53,617) and agriculture and natural resources ($53,504) graduates are projected to be down 5.4 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

    Figure 1: Average salaries by discipline, bachelor’s degrees

    Broad Category 2020 Salary Projection 2019 Salary Projection % Change
    Engineering $69,961 $69,188 1.1%
    Computer Science $67,411 $67,539 -0.2%
    Math & Sciences $62,488 $62,177 0.5%
    Business $57,939 $57,657 0.5%
    Social Sciences $57,425 $57,310 0.2%
    Communications $56,484 $52,056 8.5%
    Humanities $53,617 $56,651 -5.4%
    Agriculture & Natural Resources $53,504 $55,750 -4.0%
    Source: Winter 2020 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About Salary Survey: The Winter 2020 Salary Survey report contains annual salary projections for Class of 2020 college graduates. The figures reported are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates. The report provides the detailed salary projections by academic major and degree level, along with breakouts by both industry and geographic region. Data contained in the report were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from September 16, 2019, through December 2, 2019. A total of 134 surveys were returned—a 14.3 percent response rate. An executive summary of the Winter 2020 Salary Survey is available at http://www.naceweb.org/research/reports/.

    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.