Class of 2017’s salary forecast

  • February 9, 2017
  • By Melody Walker
  • 2 minute read

Good news for the Class of 2017 in the Winter Salary Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE): the demand for undergrads with business degrees is strong and salaries are projected to increase nearly 5 percent over last year’s average of $52,236. If you do the math, that’s $54, 803. If you majored in management information systems, you can look forward to the highest average starting salary projection at $59,642. The projections reflect base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates.

While employers responding to NACE’s Salary Survey anticipate that engineering, computer science, and math and sciences majors will be the top-paid graduates from the Class of 2017, they reported in a separate Job Outlook survey that the top bachelor’s degree majors they will hire are in the business fields. Employers indicated plans to hire 5.8 percent more new graduates during 2016-17 than they did in 2015-16 for their U.S. operations.

Good Forecast for Grad Students, Too
Business graduates at the master’s degree level are also projected to receive higher average starting salaries with their overall average projection of $74,066 up 3.4 percent from last year ($71,663). The individual average salary projection increases for both economics (11.8 percent) and marketing (10.9 percent) graduates appear to be driving the jump. However, tempering the overall increase are the average salary projections for logistics/supply chain (down 6.3 percent), sales (down 5.9 percent), and finance (down 1.5 percent) majors, all of which have dipped this year.

Specific M.B.A. graduates are likely to receive average salaries that are greater than the overall average as their current projection of $81,685 is up 5.2 percent over last year’s projection of $77,657. In addition, M.B.A. graduates, along with marketing graduates ($86,318), have topped the $80,000 mark.

SOURCE: NACE’s Winter 2017 Salary Survey report provides the detailed salary projections by academic major and degree level, along with breakouts by both industry and geographic region. Data contained in the report were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from August 5, 2016, through November 30, 2016. A total of 243 surveys were returned for a 25.3 percent response rate. Of those responding, 14.8 percent of respondents were from the West, 23.5 percent were from the Northeast, 29.6percent were from the Southeast, and 32.1 percent were from the Midwest. A list of respondents by industry and size, and a partial list of organizations that supplied data for this report can be found in the Appendix.Salary Survey(ISSN 1520-8648) is available to individuals holding membership in the National Association of Colleges and Employers; it is also available on a subscription basis. For more information, see or contact NACE at 610.868.1421. The Job Outlook 2017 report is available at

About the Author

Melody Walker

Melody Walker

My nickname around the office is "Scoops" because I always have the latest news from the halls of Simon, Starbucks, or the STL startup scene. Thanks to staff and student bloggers, I'm not alone in reporting on the Olin community here on the Blog. Don't be shy, post a comment or send us your story. New bloggers always welcome!

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