Graduates in the class of 2017 will have record-setting salaries—here’s how much they’ll earn

University Students Celebrate Their Graduation
Getty Images | Andreas Rentz

Graduates in the class of 2017 are gonna have it so good. Not only are newly minted grads about to enter one of the strongest job markets in recent years, but starting salaries are on the up-and-up as well.

In fact, average base pay (currently sitting at $49,785) is at the highest rate in ten years, according to a new study from the Wall Street Journal.

‘Best Year’ For Graduates

Even adjusting for inflation, salaries for recent graduates today are 14 percent higher than those for students who graduated in 2007, before the Great Recession. These starting salaries mirror overall strength in hiring as unemployment rates hover around 4.9 percent.

“This has been the best year for students that I’ve seen since coming here,” said Thomas Ward, executive director of the career services center at Adelphi University, in Garden City, New York, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “It’s very rewarding.”

Flickr | 401(K) 2013

Salaries Are Up

Especially in the tech sphere, starting salaries have climbed significantly.

  • Software development is offering a 5 percent boost to $65,232.
  • Engineers are expected to earn average salaries of around $63,036.
  • Also topping the list are actuaries (earning $59,212 a year on average).
  • Entry-level scientists and researchers will see starting salaries around $58,773.

Another industry seeing a big boost? Professions in the environmental sphere. With graduate base salaries starting at $56,660, they’re up a startling 14 percent from the average. This is probably due to widespread economic focus on alternative energy sources, which can be incredibly lucrative (just ask Texas how their wind farms are doing).


Get That Degree To Get Paid

On the other end of the spectrum, young adults without a college degree are facing a more difficult job market than ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates over the age of 25 earn double the salaries of adults with only a high school diploma or an unfinished college degree.

While not every student who graduates has a job offer already, rising salaries and strong employment rates will hopefully ensure nobody stays unemployed for too long. And really—congrats, grads.

To see a full list of the professions that were analyzed, check out the Wall Street Journal’s list.

About the Author
Jessica Suss

An aspiring food and health writer, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast. Jessica is also the creator of BiteMeBlog, but don't call her a foodie More.