Starting Salaries Rise for Business Majors



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The good news: Business majors enjoyed a 2.9% increase in starting salaries over the past year.

The bad news: That increase fell far short of the 7.5% jump for the Class of 2014 overall.

Those were the findings in a September report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). For business majors, starting salaries climbed from $55,635 in 2013 to $57,229. While business majors still earn over $8,500 more than graduates as a whole, this 2.9% increase could reflect a ceiling nearing for starting salaries.


Among specific majors, logistics and materials management majors received the biggest starting paychecks at $66,300, an 11.4% increase over the previous year. Marketing majors also enjoyed double-digit growth at 10.8%, with their starting wages coming in at $57,500 in 2014.

Major 2014 Salary 2013 Salary Change 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile
 Accounting  $55,600  $53,500  3.9%  $43,000  $53,100  $63,100
 Business Administration /  Management  $58,200  $56,000  3.9%  $44,700  $55,200  $70,200
 Business Systems Networking/  Telecommunications  $57,300  NA  NA  $45,100  $54,800  $66,700
 Economics (Business / Managerial)  $58,900  $56,300  4.6%  $44,400  $56,000  $69,500
 Finance  $59,500  $58,100  2.4%  $45,100  $56,500  $70,600
 Hospitality Services Management  $40,200  NA  NA  $30,600  $38,600  $45,400
 International Business  $46,100  NA  NA  $34,900  $44,100  $53,400
 Logistics / Materials Management  $66,300  $59,500  11.4%  $49,300  $62,100  $76,800
 Management Information Systems /  Business  $65,000  $60,300  7.8%  $49,500  $62,200  $74,800
 Marketing / Marketing Management (Including Market Research)  $57,500  $51,900  10.8%  $43,600  $54,200  $72,100

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

Business-oriented industries also fared well in NACE’s study. For example, students from all majors who moved into the “management of companies and enterprises” earned $61,490, second only to “mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction” at $97,100. In addition, graduates in the “finance and insurance” industry averaged $57,683 to start.


Overall, 2014 graduates made $48,707, up from $45,327 in 2013. Communications majors enjoyed the biggest gains, up 10.1% from $43,835 to $48,253. Computer sciences grads were also in demand, with starting salaries edging up 6.1% to $62,891. Despite a push for STEM grads, math and sciences grads salaries only improved 3.7% to $44,299.

Not surprisingly, engineers landed the highest starting salaries at $62,891 (up 1.3%). Humanities and social sciences grads grossed the lowest starting salaries at $38,049 (up 0.7%). Education majors were the only grads to experience lower average salaries, dropping 0.2% to $40,267.

So where are the best industries to land a job in 2014? According to NACE, educational services are a hot spot, with 161,400 new grad hires. Professional services – which include accounting, engineering, architectural, engineering, and computer services – added 131,800 grads in 2014. Those industries were trailed by healthcare (120,400), government (88,000), and finance and insurance (47,600).


In a flat economy, graduates are looking for every advantage to get hired. Based on NACE’s research, graduates should really focus on fundamentals. Andrea Koncz, research manager for NACE, cites “written and verbal communication skills” as qualities that consistently top NACE’s employer surveys. However, in NACE’s most recent job outlook study in April 2014, the “ability to make decisions and solve problems” edged out communication skills on employers’ wish lists.  Other highly coveted skills included: obtaining and processing information; planning, organizing, and prioritizing work; analyzing quantitative data; technical knowledge; computer software proficiency; and influencing and selling others.

NACE’s salary survey provides starting salaries for bachelor’s degree holders from over 90 disciplines in the United States. Using data from over 400,000 employers, the data was pulled in July 2014 and “derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and a master data set developed by Job Search Intelligence.” NACE will publish final salary data for 2014 graduates in its January 2015 Salary Survey report, which will be available on its website.


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