A decade after the Great Recession, when new college grads walked into an abysmal job market with long-lasting effects, the Class of 2019 is joining the workforce during an economic upswing, complete with historically low unemployment and rising wages.
For technically minded graduates, the prospects are even brighter, according to a ranking of the highest-paying entry-level jobs compiled by Glassdoor. In fact, any one of the 25 occupations listed can expect to outpace the U.S. median of $52,807, the salary and career website found.
Tech roles dominated the Top 25 list, according to the analysis, thanks in part to the value businesses place on STEM-related skills and education, and the immense influence of advanced technology and engineering in corporate America.
“This list can serve as a menu of aspirational jobs to potentially work toward, especially as the majority of these entry-level jobs are in the STEM field and require strong technical skills,” said Amanda Stansell, senior research analyst at Glassdoor. Though pay is a key consideration, she said, long-term job satisfaction is defined by other factors, such as “culture and values, career opportunities and trust in senior leadership.”
Case in point: The top-paying entry level position, data scientist, also scores high in overall job satisfaction and the number of available positions. For those reasons, it has been Glassdoor’s best all-around job in a separate ranking for four consecutive years.
College graduates are entering a hot job market. Wages grew 3.4% in the past year, the government reported in March, the biggest increase since the Great Recession. Earlier this month, the U.S. Labor Department said unemployment fell to 3.6%, the lowest level since 1969. Businesses are struggling to fill their openings, giving workers leverage to demand higher pay and seek better paying jobs.
Unlike a decade ago, when many a job hunter was desperate for a call back, it’s now new workers who are “ghosting” their jobs. Many employers also are lowering their job requirements to snap up candidates quickly and edge out the competition.
To come up with its list, which was compiled using 2018 data, Glassdoor ranked the highest median annual salaries reported on its website by U.S.-based employees aged 25 or younger. It only considered jobs that had received at least 25 salary reports.
Here are the Top 25 (click the job title to see related job openings in the Seattle area):
1. Data scientist (median annual base salary: $95,000)
2. Software engineer ($90,000)
3. Product manager ($89,000)
4. Investment banking analyst ($85,000)
5. Product designer ($85,000)
6. UX Designer ($73,000)
7. Implementation consultant ($72,000)
8. Java developer ($72,000)
9. Systems engineer ($70,000)
10. Software developer ($68,600)
11. Process engineer ($68,258)
12. Front end developer ($67,500)
13. Product engineer ($66,750)
14. Actuarial analyst ($66,250)
15. Electrical engineer ($66,000)
16. Mechanical engineer ($65,000)
17. Design engineer ($65,000)
18. Applications developer ($65,000)
19. Test engineer ($65,000)
20. Programmer analyst ($65,000)
21. Quality engineer ($64,750)
22. Physical therapist ($63,918)
23. Field engineer ($63,750)
24. Project engineer ($63,000)
25. Business analyst ($63,000)