Skip page header and navigation

Job market hot, but new grad salaries virtually flat: Korn Ferry

Job market hot, but new grad salaries virtually flat: Korn Ferry

May 14, 2018

Main content

The job market is hot, but salaries for new college grads are virtually flat this year, according to a survey by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY). Grads’ average salary rose 2.8% this year to $50,390, which is essentially flat when inflation is taken into account.

Los Angeles-based Korn Ferry researched 310,000 entry-level positions from 1,000 organizations across the US to determine the salary figure.

The survey also looked at average salaries for new grads by 10 major cities:

  • 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,” said Maryam Morse, senior client partner at Korn Ferry. 

The company also released a selection of 10 careers and their average wages:

  • 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.”

Separately, the National Association of Colleges and Employers last month announced that US employers plan to hire fewer grads in 2018.