Those armed with a newly minted college diploma are entering the worst U.S. job market in modern history, with unemployment spiking to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
As a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis, increased competition for fewer openings has put downward pressure on salaries and benefits. Starting salaries now average $54,585, down from last year’s $59,765, for entry-level offerings, according to iCIMS, a talent acquisition software company.
Even recent grads heading into traditionally secure and well-paying fields, such as finance, business and consulting, are facing canceled programs, delayed start dates and remote work, yet some starting salaries are still high — and heading higher.
Among the highest-paying entry-level jobs, investment banking analysts earn $86,076 in their first year out of school, according to new data from job search site Glassdoor, up from $85,000 in 2019.
Still, the vast majority of the highest-paying positions are now in tech, Glassdoor found. This is based on data from U.S.-based employees age 26 or younger with a college degree.
Data scientist is the top-paying entry-level job of all, with a median base salary of more than $100,000, up from $95,000 last year, followed by software and hardware engineers, which both pay around $90,000 a year starting out.
Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of employers are considering revoking offers that have already been made to the class of 2020, according to a separate survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
College internships, once considered key to landing a job upon graduation, are getting hit even harder. About 70% of offers to interns for summer 2020 are being rescinded, NACE found.
“With the uncertainty that continues to surround the economy and the job market during this pandemic, employers are cutting budgets, which may result in internship programs being scaled back or temporarily suspended,” Shawn VanDerziel, NACE’s executive director, said in a statement.
Haoxuan Ding, a 21-year-old rising junior at Boston College, was notified in April that his internship with a Chicago-based consulting firm was canceled.
Now living at home with his parents in Union, Massachusetts, Ding said, “My entire summer is gone.” Still, he said he feels grateful the economic climate hasn’t impacted his future job prospects. “I’m pretty lucky, since I have another year of school,” he said.
“We are trying to instill a very positive attitude about how to deal during this time,” said Lesley Mitler, co-founder of Early Stage Careers in New York. To clients, Mitler has this advice: “Stay busy networking and upskilling.”
College graduates concerned about finding a job also are dramatically expanding their searches and applying to many more jobs.
“Whereas before they were applying to 20 or 30 jobs, now they are applying to a multiple of that,” Mitler said.