Median Salary Rises 4.5% for Class of 2012

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The overall median salary in the U.S. for Class of 2012 college graduates is up 4.5 percent over the median posted by the Class of 2011, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

NACE’s April 2012 Salary Survey report shows the overall median starting salary for a bachelor’s degree graduate has risen to $42,569 for the Class of 2012, up from the final median salary of $40,735 for the Class of 2011. Data contained in the report represent accepted starting salaries (not salary offers), produced through a compilation of data derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau and a master set of data developed by the research firm Job Search Intelligence.

“The overall median salary increase is the result of gains throughout most sectors,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “Even in those sectors that showed decreases in median starting salaries, the dips were very slight.”

For those graduating with bachelor degrees in the first quarter of 2012, education and communications majors saw the most significant increases to their median salaries over the Class of 2011:

  • Graduates with education degrees were entering the work force with a 4.5 percent increase in median salary over the Class of 2011, rising to $37,423 from $35,828.
  • Communications majors saw a 3.8 percent increase in their median salary, rising to $40,022 from $38,549.
  • Math and science majors' salaries increased 2.5 percent, rising to $40,939.
  • In the computer sciences fields, new graduates were being offered starting salaries up 2.4 percent, rising to $56,383.

Still posting gains, albeit nominal ones, were humanities and social sciences, and business majors:

  • Business graduates' median starting salary crept up 1 percent to $47,748.
  • Humanities and social sciences graduates' salaries inched ahead by just 0.5 percent, to $34,789.

On the other side, the median salaries for engineering and health sciences graduates dipped incrementally:

  • Engineering graduates posted a median salary of $58,581, a slight drop of 0.4 percent.
  • Health sciences majors’ median salary dipped 0.7 percent to $43,477.