The best jobs for recent grads

Professional services, finance, technology industries among the top

Two new job-market analyses found that while recent graduates still face high unemployment rates, some industries have many well-paying positions open.

Glassdoor and University of California (UC) San Diego Extension both recently published studies on the top jobs for new graduates, ages 21 to 24. This cohort faced a 7.2% unemployment rate in 2014—a decline from the 9.9% unemployment rate in 2011, yet still rather high.

Despite the unemployment rate, research shows companies in the technology, professional services, and finance industries are hiring.

Glassdoor's study ranked jobs based on median annual base salary across all workers in the field, number of open jobs, and career opportunities. The UC San Diego Extension study also considered each job's expected median base salary and number of job openings, but then factored in work environment and projected job growth.

Top jobs lists

According to Glassdoor's report, the top jobs for new graduates are:

1. Data scientist, median annual salary: $116,840

Even if recent graduates have little experience, they can take a coding or software bootcamp to gain more. 

2. HR Manager, median annual salary: $85,000

Young professionals know what many young employees want in a workplace—which as companies look to improve retention rates, makes them a valuable asset in this position.

3. Marketing manager, median annual salary: $90,000

This role often includes diverse responsibilities and companies look to younger professionals to bring unique ideas. 

4. Finance manager, median annual salary: $115,000

Companies are beginning to expand this job to recent graduates as the finance industry grows.

5. Nurse practitioner, median annual salary: $99,500An increase in demand means companies are putting up top compensation for those with the necessary training.

Designing programs for the millennial workforce

According to UC San Diego Extension's report, the top jobs are:

1. Software developers, median annual salary for application developer: $90,060; median annual salary for systems software developer: $99,000

Projections put job growth for this category at 23% from 2012 to 2022, a higher rate than any other position.

2. Accountants, median annual salary: $63,550

As the economy picked up, demand for accountants did, too. Job growth here is estimated to grow 13% from 2012 to 2022.

3. Market research analysts, median annual salary: $60,300

"Big data is changing the field of marketing," says Josh Shapiro, director of research and evaluation for the Center for Research on the Regional Economy and UC San Diego Extension. "Marketing is about more than snappy slogans; it now relies on mining databases, gathering data on consumer demographics, studying consumer-buying preferences so you can target the right audience with the right message with the right medium."

Demand for this position is projected to grow 32% from 2012 to 2022.

4. Computer network architects, median annual salary: $91,000

As companies expand their wireless and mobile networks, they need these architects to ensure digital devices can communicate with one another. Projections put this position's growth rate at 15% from 2012 to 2022.

5. Management analysts, median annual salary: $78,600

This job requires someone who can improve company performance and efficiency—and frequently includes a lot of travel as well. From 2012 to 2022, openings are expected to grow 19% (Woods, CNBC, 3/29; Navarra, Jobs & Hire, 3/30).


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