Starting Salaries Up 1.2% for Class of 2014 Grads

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Apr 4, 2014

The average starting salary in the U.S. for new college graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in the first quarter of 2014 rose 1.2 percent year over year, according to the nonprofit National Association of Colleges and Employers’ April 2014 Salary Survey report.

The survey—the first look at starting salaries for the class of 2014—found that the average starting salary for these college graduates stands at $45,473. "Although this salary is 1.2 percent higher than the April 2013 starting salary of $44,928 reported for the class of 2013, the increase is considerably lower than the more than 5 percent increase predicted for graduates at that time," the report states. "This means, starting salaries for the newest crop of college graduates appear to be leveling."

In examining the average salaries by academic discipline, similar evidence was revealed. According to the report, "The percent changes within each category for 2014 are notably lower than they were in April 2013, ranging from nearly flat for business degrees to less than a 4 percent increase in salaries for health sciences graduates. In contrast, the first [quarter] report for the class of 2013 graduates showed percent changes in the broad categories that ranged from nearly 2 percent to as high as almost 10 percent.”

With an increase of 3.7 percent, health sciences garnered the highest increase among the disciplines for the class of 2014, while humanities and social sciences and computer science trailed closely with gains of 3.5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Average Salaries by Discipline


2014 Average Salary

2013 Average Salary

Percent Change









Computer Science












Health Sciences




Humanities & Social Sciences




Math & Sciences








Source: April 2014 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Highest-Paying Industries

The top five industries that paid the highest starting salaries to 2014 bachelor’s degree graduates, regardless of major, were:

  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction—$97,200.
  • Utilities—$68,700.
  • Construction—$58,883.
  • Management of companies and enterprises—$57,380.
  • Manufacturing—$56,841.

Data for the April 2014 Salary Survey report were retrieved in February 2014.

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

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