Photo: Juan Ramos
As the the graduating Class of 2017 leaves college days behind and enters the working world, they will be earning more on average compared to last year, and specific cities have the highest average salaries among college graduates, according to research announced on Tuesday.
According to a statement on a Korn Ferry study of “25 analyzed positions, 2017 college grads in the United States will make on average $49,785 annually. That is 3 percent more than the 2016 average ($48,270). Adjusted for inflation, 2017 grads will make 14 percent more than those who graduated in 2007, just months before the start of the Great Recession.”
In short, “the average salaries for 2017 grads are at an all-time high,” Korn Ferry said.
Korn Ferry’s findings
With a focus on the US, Hay Group’s research (part of Korn Ferry) was based on 145,000 entry-level jobs’ salaries “from more than 700 organizations across the United States.” Data on 25 jobs with estimated salaries was generated afterward.
Korn Ferry broke down which of the 25 studied entry-level positions supposedly earn the most and the least. STEM industry jobs were at the very top (“as in years past”), with a software developer estimated to bring in $65,232, or 31% higher than average.
Of the seven cities Korn Ferry studied, San Francisco was the one with the highest “average college graduate” paycheck — a salary of $62,829.
Among the five lowest-paying jobs was customer service representative, which came in second-to-last with an average salary of $35,848, or 28% lower than average.
So if you’re a Class of 2017 graduate pursuing a STEM industry job in San Francisco, it looks like you might really be in luck.
To get more perspective on what college grads can expect, we examined a past study that took a hard look at how college students feel about their money — including what they hope for, and what stresses them out.
Students’ financial expectations
For some past perspective, we looked to The National Student Financial Wellness Study by The Ohio State University in 2014. That study highlighted a lot of data on how students feel about their money.
About 18,800 students responded, from 52 two-year and four-year public and private colleges and universities in the US and Canada.
According to the report, among students whose goal was to get employed after graduation, “just over one third” thought they would be bringing in “between $40,000 and $59,999 a year upon graduation.”
It also found among students at 2-year and 4-year schools, those who expected to earn $60,000 or higher “upon graduation” were “more likely” to have attended four-year colleges.
But the study added that students who hadn’t racked up academic debt were “more likely to report expecting a higher starting salary than students with debt.”
But money was also a clear source of worry as well: 72% of all students said they felt stress about their personal finances, with 60% of all students worrying about having enough money to pay tuition and 65% of students at two-year schools feeling anxiety about paying for school, the report suggested.