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Recent Graduates Witness Sluggish Growth in Salaries

Recent college graduates are witnessing slow growth in their salaries at a time when student loan debt continues to concern many across the nation.

According to the Summer 2019 Salary Survey report, published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), bachelor’s degree graduates from 2018 received an overall average starting salary of $50,944, which is just 1.4 percent higher from the starting salaries earned by their peers who graduated in 2015.

The salary figures were compiled through NACE’s national Class of 2018 First-Destination Survey, which was taken by approximately 350 colleges and universities nationwide and represents data for almost 693,500 graduates at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels.

The graduates from the class of 2017 reported an overall average salary of $50,516.

Across different majors, computer science graduates continue to be the top earners with an average salary of $71,411. However, for the class of 2018, their salaries dropped by 1.7 percent from the average $72,677 for the class of 2017.

Most students graduating with STEM degrees also have average starting salaries of more than $60,000. Engineering graduates reported an overall average starting salary of $66,638, while mathematics and statistics majors students reported an average of $61,709.

Class of 2018 health science graduates witnessed a 3.3 percent fall in their salaries from $53,872 to $52,076, while social science graduates continue to rank at the bottom of the ladder with $46,797 as their average salary.

These figures come as a stark comparison to a Clever Real Estate survey which found that the average undergraduate expects to make $57,964 after graduation. Freshmen and sophomores expect to earn nearly $59,875, while seniors often expect to earn $56,168.The national median salary is $47,000 for bachelor’s degree holders with zero to five years of experience.

However, a Strada-Gallup Alumni survey found that 43 percent of graduates who were placed immediately after graduation earn $60,000 or more in personal income compared to graduates who took two to 12 months to find a job after graduation.

The survey said 38 percent of graduates who took more than two months to land a good job earn less than $24,000, which is close to the annual federal minimum hourly wage that can earn a person $15,080 a year without a bachelor’s degree by putting 40 hours each week into a job.

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