General Business

Class of 2019 Expects $8,500 Less Than Employers Anticipate Paying Entry-Level Hires

Leading cloud-based recruitment software releases fourth annual report on college seniors’ job search expectations compared to realities of entry-level employers

Recruiters expect to pay entry-level employees an average of $56,155 in 2019 – far exceeding the $47,562 average salary recent college graduates are expecting, according to new research – The Class of 2019 Report – published by iCIMS, a leading provider of cloud-based talent acquisition solutions.

The fourth annual report is based on a survey of 500 U.S. college seniors and 500 recruiters and human resource professionals, along with data points from the iCIMS platform which is drawn on a database of more than 75 million applications and three million jobs posted per year by more than 4,000 customers.

“In job interviews, graduating college seniors should be prepared to talk about their internship experience, showcase their written and spoken communication skills, and offer references as recruiters say these three things are more important in an entry-level applicant than their college major,” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS.

“It is evident that employers are feeling the pressure of a tight labor market and are ready to offer college graduates a competitive salary,” said Vitale. “Beyond compensation, employers can also stand out through robust training and development programs and by delivering a strong candidate experience. It’s clearly a candidate’s market and today’s job seekers expect to hear back from recruiters quickly – and through their preferred channels, including text messaging. Anything less creates risk that the candidates will move onto another opportunity.”

Key findings include:


Expectations of the Class of 2019 Recruiters’ Realities
Salary On average, college seniors expect to earn $47,562 at their first job after college.


While 44% of men expect to earn between $50,000 and $74,999 at their first job after college, only 31% of women expect to earn a salary in that range.


Recruiting professionals expect to pay its average entry-level employee $56,155.
College Major 24% of college seniors will be graduating with a degree in STEM. 48% of recruiters say they are most interested in hiring STEM majors.
Job Role


Only 18% of seniors want to work in HR roles and 10% want to work in IT roles. HR and IT are the top entry-level roles recruiters expect to hire this year.


87% of college seniors say they are confident that their job interview skills will get them the job they want. Recruiters say that on average, 37% of entry-level job applicants at their company are not qualified for a position they applied to.
Work Experience


The average student in the class of 2019 completed only one internship, with 31% saying they didn’t complete any internships. For 70% of recruiters, past work experience

is more important than an entry-level

applicant’s college major.

Job Boards


65% of college seniors agree that the majority of the search results from job boards that they’ve used are irrelevant

or not a good fit for them.

44% of recruiters say the money their company spends on recruitment advertising on job boards is not worth it for the candidates they hire as a result.
Job Offers


45% of college seniors say they would begin to consider jobs at other companies if they didn’t hear back one week or less after a job interview. 76% of recruiters say they extend offers to potential hires in one week or less after an interview.

Read the full report here: The Class of 2019 Report.

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