What Jobs Do New Graduates Want, Anyway?

Entering a hot job market, the Class of 2018—among the first college graduates from Generation Z—will likely have plenty of options as they hunt for work. Software development and marketing are among the most attractive fields to new grads.

The Class of 2018 is ready to make its mark on the world, and considering the tight labor market at the moment, a whole lot of fresh minds are likely to be quickly welcomed into the workforce.

Many associations, presumably, would be happy to have some of these new grads under their roof.

They wouldn’t be alone. In fact, a nearly quarter of employers have definitive plans for hiring college recruits, according to a recent study from Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute. Eight in 10 respondents said they hired at least one new college graduate, according to the study.

These new faces—on the vanguard Gen Z, by the way—might have their pick of the litter, job-wise, as more employers look for employees with bachelor’s degrees, according to the MSU study.

A recent report from LinkedIn breaks down the career paths that were most attractive to new grads last year. A few notable points:

Developers, developers, developers. The most desired job among graduates during the 2016-2017 school year was the role of software engineer, with an average starting salary of $92,000 per year—higher than any other position. Other lucrative roles on the list include second-ranked investment banking analyst ($85,000) and seventh-ranked business analyst ($70,000).

Lots of interest in marketing. Other popular roles are situated in the marketing or publishing worlds, including marketing coordinator (third most popular, $45,000 per year), graphic designer (fourth, $45,000), account executive (fifth, $60,000), and account coordinator (ninth, $40,000). Graduates with degrees in marketing or communications had the most varied opportunities.

Career-driven coastal living. New grads like being near the water. Of the top 10 big cities studied, six—New York; San Francisco; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; Boston; and Seattle—are on the coasts. Another, Chicago, offers the lure of Lake Michigan. Just three of the top 10—Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Austin—are inland.

The downside for grads: While the working world might be ready to welcome them, they may be disappointed on the salary front. Speaking to U.S. News and World Report, career coach Jenn DeWall noted that salaries haven’t risen as fast as living costs have.

“Companies haven’t built into their expenses what they have to for cost of living,” DeWall says.

(nirat/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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