New College Grads See Higher Starting Salaries

Does a college degree still matter? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the answer is an emphatic yes. The latest data from the agency shows that Americans with a bachelors degree or higher earn more than $1 million more over their careers.

And the difference is growing. The average starting salary for new college graduates earning bachelor’s degrees has increased 1.2 percent over last year, according to a new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

NACE’s April 2014 Salary 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, up from the 2013 average salary of $44,928.

With a jump of 3.7 percent, health sciences garnered the highest average starting salary 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. (See Figure 1.)

An executive summary of the April 2014 Salary Survey report is available at www.naceweb.org/salary-resources/salary-survey.aspx.

Figure 1: Average Salaries by Discipline

Discipline 2014 Average Salary 2013 Average Salary Percent Change
Business $53,901 $54,234 -0.6%
Communications $43,924 $43,145 1.8%
Computer Science $61,741 $59,977 2.9%
Education $40,863 $40,480 0.9%
Engineering $62,719 $62,535 0.3%
Health Sciences $51,541 $49,713 3.7%
Humanities & Social Sciences $38,365 $37,058 3.5%
Math & Sciences $43,414 $42,724 1.6%
Overall $45,473 $44,928 1.2%

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

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