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Super salary expectations: Recruiting the Class of 2019

May 17, 2019

By Keisha Ward, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

When it comes to hiring new graduates, recruiters hold the esteemed responsibility of ushering them into their career – their first “real” job! Welcoming these vessels of potential into the world of employment often means welcoming them to the “real world”. The world of salary bands and minimum ranges.

Due to low unemployment rates, many companies seek to hire new college graduates in 2019.  As a result, these budding stars are entering into one of the strongest job markets in decades. The National Association of Colleges and Employers says that companies plan to hire 16.6% more members from the Class of 2019 than the previous graduating class.  According to ASE’s Starting Salaries for Co-op Student and Recent College Graduates Survey, 30% of the companies surveyed have increased their hiring efforts for college graduates this year compared to last year.  That’s an increase of 7% from 2018.

To hiring managers the energy, optimism and ambition of a recent graduate can be a refreshing and revitalizing contribution to their teams; however, these attributes can also contribute to the challenges recruiters face during the hiring and salary negotiation process. 

A recent study conducted by LendEDU found that students overestimate how much they will earn after college and could be in for a surprise during salary negotiations. College Pulse, an online survey and research organization and LendEDU worked together to compare what college students throughout the country expect to earn following graduation to the actual salary. Below are results for several local universities who were included in the study:

Student with 0-5 years of experience:

Central Michigan: Actually earned $47,000 /Expected to earn $58,500

University of Michigan: Actually earned $62,000/ Expected to earn $70,000

Eastern Michigan University: Actually earned $46,400/ Expected to earn $50,000

On average, students expected to earn $60,000 per year, but most actually earned slightly over $48,000.
According to LendEDU, students will make about 81% of their anticipated salary.  Starting salaries are dependent on the field, though.  According to the ASE survey, some of the higher starting salaries include:

Starting Salaries

The ASE survey asked employers to rate the top three perceived shortcomings of recent graduates.  Career expectations came in the highest at 62%, followed by adaptation to work environment (60%) and compensation expectations at 53%.

Why do college students expect higher salaries?  It’s ironic that the class entering the best job market in decades is also the class exiting school with the greatest debt ever. states there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student debt, leaving new graduates eager to earn increased wages as a result of their looming college debt.

Educate and secure a happy placement.

Talent professionals should counsel these valuable assets to the workforce. Use this as an opportunity to develop a lasting relationship with your candidate by educating them. Help them understand salary benchmarking and where they (their experience) falls within the band. Explain to them that eventually they will earn what they expect, now is the time to build their resume and develop necessary work skills and experience.

Developing a trusting relationship with students entering the job market for the first time can lead to a strong professional connection. Today’s new graduates are multi-dimensional and have a tremendous amount of potential.  Help ease them into their “real” job and “real world” by educating them on the hiring process, guiding them through the unknown territory of salary ranges verse years of experience, and ensuring them that with time and hard-work they will meet their goals.    

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