Starting Salaries for Class of 2013 Up 5.3%

Seven engineering majors were among the 10 top paid fields

By Stephen Miller, CEBS May 8, 2013
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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)



Discipline

2013 Average Salary

2012 Average Salary

Percent Change

Health sciences

$49,713

$45,442

9.4%

Business

$54,234

$50,633

7.1%

Education

$40,480

$38,524

5.1%

Computer science

$59,977

$57,529

4.3%

Engineering

$62,535

$60,151

4.0%

Communications

$43,145

$41,550

3.8%

Math and sciences

$42,724

$41,430

3.1%

Humanities/social sciences

$37,058

$36,371

1.9%

Overall

$44,928

$41,430

5.3%

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



Major

Average Starting Salary

Petroleum engineering

$93,500

Computer engineering

$71,700

Chemical engineering

$67,600

Computer science

$64,800

Aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering

$64,400

Mechanical engineering

$64,000

Electrical/electronics and communications engineering

$63,400

Management information systems/business

$63,100

Engineering technology

$62,200

Finance

$57,400

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.​

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