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Starting Salaries Jump 3.4 Percent for Graduates Earning Bachelor's Degrees

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)BETHLEHEM, PA—The average starting salary for new college graduates earning bachelor’s degrees has risen 3.4 percent over last year, according to a new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

NACE’s January 2013 Salary Survey found that the overall increase has carried the average starting salary for 2012 college graduates earning bachelor’s degrees to $44,455, outpacing the 2011 average salary of $42,987.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in the average starting salary for bachelor’s degree graduates over the past two years, indicating improvement in the job market for college graduates,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

The highest increases came in education (5.4 percent, to $40,668), business (4.2 percent, to $53,900), and communications (4.1 percent, to $43,717). (See Figure 1.)

Engineering and health sciences majors—both of which received starting salaries that are 3.9 percent more than last year—also saw sizable gains. The average starting salary for engineering graduates was $61,913 this year, while their classmates in health sciences earned $49,196.

Similarly, graduates with computer sciences degrees saw a substantial increase to their average starting salary—a jump of 3.8 percent to $59,221.

Meanwhile, graduates with degrees in math and sciences (2.7 percent, to $42,471) and humanities and social sciences (2 percent, to $36,988) saw smaller increases.

An executive summary of the January 2013 Salary Survey report is available at www.naceweb.org/salary-survey-data/.  

NACE’s first report on starting salaries for Class of 2013 college graduates will be available in the April 2013 issue of Salary Survey.

Figure 1: Average Salaries by Discipline *


2012 Average Salary

2011 Average Salary

 Percent Change









Computer Science












Health Sciences




Humanities & Social Sciences




Math & Sciences








*Source: January 2013 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

About Salary Survey

Salary Survey reports starting salaries for new college graduates in more than 90 disciplines at the bachelor’s degree level. Data contained in the report are 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. Data for the January 2013 report were retrieved in November 2012, and reflect the final results for the Class of 2012. Salary Survey is published in January, April, and September.

About NACE

Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org

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