2017 college grads see entry-level salaries at an all-time high — for some professions
- The findings of a study by the Hay Group, Korn Ferry’s pay consultant division, show that salaries for this year’s college graduates are the highest ever, SHRM reports. Researchers evaluated salaries for 145,000 entry-level positions at 700 U.S. organizations.
- The study found that 2017 college graduates will earn on average $49,785 a year, or 3% more than last year’s average annual salary of $48,270. SHRM says that, adjusted for inflation, the 2017 salary increase is 14% higher than the 2007 Great Recession’s average rate.
- The highest paying jobs are in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, the same as in 2016, says SHRM. The top four highest-paid positions are software developer ($65,232), engineer ($63,036), scientist/researcher ($58,733) and environmental professional ($56,660).
A 14% increase in 10 years, with an adjustment for inflation, is a significant increase for new graduates, especially since so many are burdened with college debt.
The study results are especially good news for STEM majors. Most salary studies show STEM professionals as among the highest-paid wage earners in the workforce and the most in demand.
Here’s the bad news for employers. A recent study by the recruiting software firm, iCMIS Inc., shows that employers want to hire STEM professionals, but that less than one-half of graduates majored in those fields. The same iCMIS study shows that one-third of applicants aren’t qualified for the entry-level jobs available. Both dilemmas exacerbate the skills-gap problem facing employers.
Most graduates, 60%, think they’ll earn a starting salary of $60,000 a year, according to a study by Yello, talent acquisition software provider. Another 3% expect starting salaries of about $100,000. Based on the Hay Group study, some graduates might be disappointed with their starting salaries.
Meanwhile, employers will have to keep wages competitive to attract the top talent among this year's college graduates