03/17/2017  //  By tracy kelly  //  TALENT TRENDS

When members of the 2017 graduating class begin negotiating salary for their first jobs, they may be in for a surprise. The 2017 Yello Collegiate Study: Undergraduate Expectations* surveyed college students to learn about compensation expectations and found students’ price points are well above industry averages. The survey also revealed women’s salary expectations are lower than those of their male counterparts, indicating that gender biases may still be present among millennial women. Read on to find out what the 2017 graduating class anticipates earning, how to manage salary expectations and how your company can address gender bias to help build your next generation of female leaders.

College students expect high starting salaries

The 2017 Yello Collegiate Study surveyed more than 1,700 college students and found this group expects high paychecks from their first job. 65 percent of respondents expect to make more than $60,000 as an entry-level salary. These expectations are well above industry averages; a recent study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found the class of 2015 earned an average starting salary of $50,219. Tech industry graduates set their sights even higher. One in five students who are seeking a job in the tech industry anticipate making more than $100,000 during their first year out of school. Education and major ranked highest among the reasons college students believe they warrant these price points.

Talent acquisition team takeaway: To resolve differences between employer and candidate salary expectations, be transparent about potential employees’ career paths and long-term salary potential. Provide growth plans that include specific checkpoints and outline a career path for entry-level candidates that demonstrate how your company rewards hard work and ambition. By offering a career plan, you can show employees how to achieve their desired salary, while highlighting opportunities for career advancement.

Gender biases still exist

While 65 percent of the 2017 graduating class anticipates earning more than $60,000 in their first job, earning outlooks differ among male and female students. The 2017 Yello Collegiate Study found that 73 percent of men expect to make more than $60,000, while only 53 percent of women expect to earn this amount. At a time when women are more likely than men to earn a college degree, it appears that millennial females are still internalizing messages that promote gender pay gaps.

Talent acquisition team takeaway: To recruit and retain your company’s next generation of female leaders, take steps to mitigate gender bias in the workplace. Transparent compensation policies, which make salary ranges for job categories available to all employees, can demonstrate that compensation decisions are based on merit alone. A report by PayScale Inc. found 49% of employers are aiming for pay transparency in 2017. Organizations can also create diversity groups that speak to topics such as equal pay or host discussions with female company executives, to foster a pay-transparent culture and overcome gender biases.

*In September 2016, Yello surveyed 1,776 collegiate students on their post-graduation, professional aspirations. All individuals anticipated graduating on or before December 31, 2017 or, on or after January 1, 2018. These participants entered our database as a result of a career fair they attended at a university or diversity career fair.

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