Salaries for new grads are higher than they've been in a decade

Higher starting salaries are one of the benefits for the Class of 2017, who are graduating into an improved job market, Kelsey Gee writes for the Wall Street Journal.

In fact, salaries are higher than they've been since before the start of the recession a decade ago, Gee writes.

Korn/Ferry International, an executive-search firm, analyzed 145,000 entry-level positions and compensation for entry-level positions over the past decade.

According to the analysis, the average base salary for the Class of 2017 is $49,795, which is 14% higher than it was for students who graduated in 2007. Jobs with some of the highest starting salaries include:

  • Software developers, $65,232;
  • Engineers, $63,036;
  • Actuaries, $59,212; and
  • Junior scientists and researchers, $58,773.

The analysis also showed that entry-level salaries in certain metropolitan areas rose more than others: young workers in San Francisco and New York will earn more on average than young workers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Ben Collins, a finance major and senior at Saint Bonaventure University who accepted a job offer at Ernst & Young, says his starting salary is consistent with those of his friends and peers, adding, "almost everyone I know has a job, which feels good."

Does double majoring equal a higher salary?

However, not every new graduate has gotten a job this early. A survey of 1,000 graduating seniors by Accenture released this week found that only 15% of graduating seniors received a job offer before graduation.

In spite of this, grads who don't yet have job offers are still probably better off than their peers who didn't go to college. College graduates over age 25 earn approximately twice as much as adults with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Gee, Wall Street Journal, 5/12).  

Three tools to prepare graduating students for the job search

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