Not a Member?  Become One Today!

Starting Salaries for Class of 2013 Up 5.3%
Seven engineering majors were among the 10 top paid fields

By Stephen Miller, CEBS  5/8/2013
Copyright Image Permissions

New bachelor degree graduates in the U.S. commanded an overall starting salary of $44,928 in the first quarter of 2013—up 5.3 percent over the average starting salary that their class of 2012 counterparts realized a year earlier ($42,666), according to the nonprofit National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

NACE’s April 2013 Salary Survey—the first look at starting salaries for the class of 2013—found a wide divergence by discipline, with year-over-year increases ranging from just under 2 percent to nearly 10 percent.

Average 2012-2013 Starting Salaries by Discipline
(listed by percent change)


2013 Average Salary

2012 Average Salary

Percent Change

Health sciences












Computer science












Math and sciences




Humanities/social sciences








Source: April 2013 NACE Salary Survey. The data represent accepted starting salaries (not salary offers), derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and a master set of employer-reported data developed by Job Search Intelligence. Data for the April 2013 report were retrieved in March 2013.

Top-Paid Majors

Technical majors head the list of highest-paid grads for the class of 2013, according to the report. Seven engineering majors were among the 10 top paid fields.

Top-Paying Majors for 2012-2013 Bachelor's Degree Graduates


Average Starting Salary

Petroleum engineering


Computer engineering


Chemical engineering


Computer science


Aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering


Mechanical engineering


Electrical/electronics and communications engineering


Management information systems/business


Engineering technology




Source: April 2013 NACE Salary Survey.

“Engineering majors are consistently among the highest paid because the demand for them is so great,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

Top-Hiring Industries

The top five industries that reported the highest number of new graduate (bachelor degree) entrants for 2013, regardless of major, were:

  • Educational services: 455,400 graduate entrants, average starting salary of $39,992.
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 307,900 graduate entrants, average starting salary of $48,609.
  • Health care and social assistance: 274,300 graduate entrants, average starting salary of $42,698.
  • Federal, state and local government: 203,500 graduate entrants, average starting salary of $45,862.
  • Finance and insurance:100,200 graduate entrants, average starting salary of $52,875.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Compensation Page

SHRM Salary Survey Directory

SHRM Compensation Data Center

SHRM Metro Economic Outlook reports

Keep up with the latest news. Sign up for SHRM’s free Compensation & Benefits e-newsletter

Copyright Image Permissions