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The Best Thing We Saw Last Week? First Job Salary Expectations

The Best Thing We Saw Last Week? First Job Salary Expectations

June 05, 2022

The Best Thing We Saw Last Week is a weekly series bringing our readers insights and analysis from Associated's thought leaders on news across the financial planning, investment, employer sponsored retirement and group health insurance industry.

Unrealistic expectations or wishful thinking?

I spotted a recent article on by Jessica Dickler on the increased hiring rate for the graduating class of 2022, which you can read HERE. The increased demand for workers is driving starting salaries higher and to that effect recent college graduates are expecting a starting salary of about twice what a starting salary might actually be.

According to the article, the average starting salary for this year's graduates is projected to be more than $50,000. However, a recent survey discovered that college students expect to earn twice that — $103,880 — in their first job. 

What also struck me most about was this chart showing the percent change from a year ago for average starting salary projections for 2022 by college major by CNBC:

The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors are strong. Things like humanities (-14.8%) and communications (-4.7%) are falling.

It occurred to me that the class of 2026 should be taking note...

College costs a lot. Spend wisely. Choose a major that will give you a fighting chance at earning enough money to monetize the degree you plan to earn. Also, while not covered in this article, trade school should not be discounted. It may take less formal education (less costly) to put yourself into a career that may be more lucrative. The last time I had to call a plumber, he was not making chump change.