Salaries for New Engineering Grads Hit All-Time High in 2017
Meghan Brown posted on May 12, 2017 |

What you will be making in your career is a significant part of deciding which field to study, whether to go for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, and where you want to work after graduating.

In a piece of good news for recently minted college and university engineering graduates, average salaries for 2017 graduates are at an all-time high — with engineering salaries coming in second-highest.

This is according to a recent study by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry which reveals what salaries new grads can expect to earn, depending on their location and career choice. The researchers analyzed the salaries of 145,000 entry-level positions from more than 700 organizations across the United States. Based on this data, the firm issued a snapshot report of 25 jobs, spanning multiple industries, with their corresponding projected salaries.

Based on the 25 analyzed career positions, 2017 college graduates in the United States will earn on average $49,785 annually — 3 percent more than the 2016 average of $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 recession.

“With unemployment rates back down to pre-recession levels and jobs requiring more highly specialized skills, companies will need to offer competitive compensation packages if they hope to attract top talent,” said Benjamin Frost, Korn Ferry Hay Group Global Product Manager – Pay.


Entry Level Roles: STEM Careers Still Make the Most

No surprises here — just like in years past, those entering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers can expect to garner the best starting salaries. The five highest-paying fields out of the 25 jobs included in the analysis are:

  • Software Developer   $65,232 (31 percent above average)
  • Engineer   $63,036 (27 percent above average)
  • Actuary   $59,212 (19 percent above average)
  • Scientist/researcher  $58,733 (18 percent above average)
  • Environmental Professional   $56,660 (14 percent above average)


Salary Differences in Selected Major Cities

For new graduates interested or willing to relocate for their dream job, the study also includes an analysis of the average college graduate salaries in seven major cities across the United States. Out of the cities analyzed, San Francisco is the place to be for college grads who want to make the most money. The average salaries in these cities are:

  • San Francisco $62,829
  • New York $60,190
  • Los Angeles $55,709
  • Chicago $54,515
  • Minneapolis $53,121
  • Dallas $50,084
  • Atlanta $49,038

According to college recruiting experts with Korn Ferry Futurestep, it doesn’t truly matter where companies are located; if they are searching for top college talent, the key is to start early.

“We’re seeing a trend toward companies hiring summer interns between their junior and senior years of college, and then making offers for full-time employment right after the internship ends,” said Adam Blumberg, vice president, key accounts, Korn Ferry Futurestep.

“It may be nine months before the graduate is ready to start, but this practice keeps the really talented new professionals out of the interview process and committed to the company for which they interned. Strong starting salaries, along with a good culture and opportunity for advancement, help make companies employers of choice.”


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