Starting Salaries Climb 7.5% for Class of 2014

Engineering grads get highest offers; humanities /social science majors trail others

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Sep 15, 2014

updated 10/1/2014

The overall average starting salary for class of 2014 college graduates stood at $48,707 as of July 2014, up 7.5 percent from the average of $45,327 posted by the class of 2013 in July 2013, according to a September 2014 report, Starting Salaries for New College Graduates, by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Driving the sizable overall salary increase were gains made by the communications and computer science disciplines. Graduates in the communications disciplines saw the largest increase—10.1 percent, bumping up their average starting salary to $48,253.

The average starting salary for computer science disciplines bounced back from a 2.5 percent decrease last year to a 6.1 percent increase in 2014. The average now stands at $62,103.

Graduates within the business disciplines saw their average starting salary grow 2.9 percent to $57,229, while the average starting salary for engineering graduates nudged up 1.3 percent to $62,891.

Meanwhile, the average starting salary for education majors remained fairly level, slipping by just 0.2 percent to $40,267.

2014 Bachelor’s Degree Graduates: Average Salaries

Undergraduate Major

Average Salary

Average Salary










Computer science












Humanities and social sciences




Math and sciences








Source: NACE, September 2014 Salary Survey. Data retrieved in July 2014.

Data reported by employers represent accepted starting salaries (not salary offers), and are produced through a compilation of data derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and a master set of data developed by Job Search Intelligence.

​Top-Paying Industries

The top-paying industry for class of 2014 bachelor’s degree graduates was finance and insurance, according to the survey results. These graduates received starting salaries that averaged more than $57,000.

Other industries that paid class of 2014 graduates starting salaries that averaged more than $50,000 included professional, scientific and technical services; and federal, state and local governments. Health care and social assistance grads earned an average of more than $45,000 in their first year.

Top-Paying Industries for 2014 Graduates

Average Starting Salary

Finance and Insurance


Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services


Federal, State and Local Government


Health care and Social Assistance


Educational Services


Source: NACE, September 2014 Salary Survey. Data retrieved in July 2014.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMsmiller.

Related External Article:

Salaries for 2014 Grads Are Greater Than Expectations, Wall Street Journal, September 2014

Related SHRM Articles:

How Much Pay to Feel Successful? (Slideshow: 2014's Top 10 Best-Paying Jobs in the U.S.), SHRM Online Compensation, August 2014

Salary Budget Increases Show Broad Consistency, SHRM Online Compensation, August 2014

Base Salary Rise of 3% Forecast for 2015, SHRM Online Compensation, July 2014

SHRM's Salary Survey Directory Express Request service.

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