- New college graduates will be paid nearly $8,500 more on average than they expected, an iCIMS report found. Recruiters are prepared to pay entry-level employees an average of $56,155 this year, far in excess of the $47,562 average annual salary recent graduates expect, according to The Class of 2019 Report. iCIMS, a cloud-based talent acquisition platform, surveyed 500 U.S. college seniors and 500 recruiters and HR professionals and reviewed data from 75 million applications and three million annual job posts.
- While 44% of male college grads expect to earn a salary range of between $50,000 and $74,999 in their first job, just 31% of women expect to earn that much after they graduate. Forty-eight percent of recruiters want to hire graduates with STEM degrees, but only 24% of graduates have them, the report also found. Similarly, only 18% of college seniors want HR careers and only 10% want to work in IT, yet HR and IT are the top entry-level roles recruiters expect to fill.
- According to the report, 87% of college seniors say they are confident that their job interview skills will get them the job they want, but recruiters said that 37% of entry-level job applicants on average are unqualified for the positions they applied for.
This isn't the first time college grads have undervalued their labor. Although an iCIMS report from 2018 showed that new college graduates expected on average $54,010 a year in their first job — still an $8,000 increase from 2016 grads' expectations — recruiters expected to pay them $56,532. With continued low unemployment, employers have increased pay in the competition for talent, but it might appear based on this report that talent haven't totally caught on to the power they could wield in the hiring process.
However, with more compensation information freely available to job hunters, it's more likely that candidates will come to the bargaining table knowing what the going pay rate is for entry-level workers in their field and location. Employers must be ready with comparable pay offers or risk losing quality talent to the the competition.
“It is evident that employers are feeling the pressure of a tight labor market and are ready to offer college graduates a competitive salary,” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS, in the news statement. “Beyond compensation, employers can also stand out through robust training and development programs and by delivering a strong candidate experience."
As Vitale espoused, pay is not the only thing to keep in mind while recruiting from colleges. Since young workers often value professional development over pay, organizations should be prepared to help them chart a career path, as well. Reports have shown that many Gen Zers favor work-life balance and don't hesitate to leave jobs within a year if they don't match their expectations. Talent pros might try to thoroughly communicate all a job will entail to these candidates before they make an offer — and pitch them on company culture with accuracy.