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Wages Stagnant for Recent College Grads

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The economy is humming, but recent college graduates aren’t quite reaping the benefits just yet, according to research from Korn Ferry. In the study, researchers analyzed salaries of 310,000 entry-level positions from nearly 1,000 organizations across the United States. Based on the analysis, 2018 college grads in the United States will make on average $50,390 annually. That is 2.8% more than the 2017 average ($49,000).

“With the 2018 U.S. inflation rate hovering just over 2%, real wages for this year’s grads are virtually flat,” said Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Maryam Morse. “However, with competition for top graduate talent so fierce, it’s critical that companies pay competitively, create an engaging culture and provide clear paths for advancement.”

Salary Differences in Selected Major Cities
The study includes an analysis of average college graduate salaries in 10 major cities across the United States. The average salaries by city (in alphabetical order) are:

 

 

 

 

Atlanta

 

 

 

 

 

$49,584

 

Boston

$59,460

 

Chicago

$55,177

 

Dallas

$50,743

 

Denver

$53,010

 

Los Angeles

$56,386

 

Minneapolis

$53,766

 

New York

$60,972

 

Philadelphia

$54,169

 

San Francisco

$63,995

“Of course, the cost of living in some cities, like San Francisco and New York, is much higher than other parts of the nation, so it stands to reason that salaries would be higher, but regardless of location, it’s imperative that organizations start the recruiting process early to ensure they win top talent,” Morse said.

Snapshot of College Entry Roles
Here is a sample of 10 careers and corresponding average wages from the Korn Ferry analysis (in alphabetical order):

 

 

 

 

Accountant

 

 

 

 

 

$48,000

 

Call Center Specialist

$42,224

 

Claims Examiner

$39,978

 

Customer Service Rep.

$35,360

 

Engineer

$64,066

 

Graphic Designer

$47,480

 

Insurance Underwriter

$51,578

 

Registered Nurse

$54,454

 

Scientist/Researcher

$60,177

 

Software Developer

$67,236

“Graduates should keep in mind that averages can mask variations. For example, within STEM-related careers there are some specialized areas that pay significantly more than average,” Morse said. “Job seekers must still do their homework to understand fair pay for their location and area of expertise.”

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