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College graduates underestimate starting salaries. How to know your worth

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Despite headlines about fears and layoffs of the recession, there is still no sign of trouble in the overall job market. Openings are still at an all-time high and unemployment claims are low.

According to career experts, looking for employers to attract talent means employers will dominate.

“No one should be paralyzed by the sense of impending doom that is moving here every few days,” said Shaila Thurlow, vice president of people and talent acquisition on the career website The Muse.

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Surveys have shown that workers are looking for flexibility, great benefits and work / life balance, compensation is also important. Yet, a ZipRecruiter survey of 1,500 jobseekers found that new graduates underestimate their salaries by about $ 10,000.

According to an analysis by the Career website, the average annual earnings for full-time workers aged 25-34 is $ 55,700 in 2019. Yet when ZipRecruiter asked new graduates how much they had to pay to accept the job, the answer was $ 45,900.

The job market has changed the salary expectations of graduates

Rapid changes in the job market are the reason why young adults are underestimating their value.

“We have gone through a complete freeze on the labor market in 2020,” said Julia Pollock, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

“That shock wavered through colleges and terrified everyone,” he said. “Then things turned around very quickly.”

The findings contradict a survey of Real Estate Witch in March, which showed that college students are wildly underestimating their salary capabilities, with the expectation of earning $ 103,880 in their first job.

As far as the manner in which the questions are framed – Pollock chokes out what you expect or desires to be offered to accept the job.

“It’s a more conservative way of asking the question and people don’t think of their pie in the sky, a kind of crazy dream or hope,” he said.

Equip yourself with information for salary conversations

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Whether you are overestimating your value or underestimating it, the advice is the same: do research to understand salary grades in your given field.

Market data is easily available on websites such as Payscale, Salary.com, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter.

Thurlow said colleges and universities have provided surveys on salaries.

When talking to recruiters, have advance conversations about compensation.

“When you’re talking to someone, ask them what the budget is to ensure the role is in line with your expectations,” Thurlow said.

By doing your research ahead of time, you need to have a sense of where the work will fall – and this will keep you in talks.

“Most employers set salaries in one role, assuming that some portion of candidates are trying to negotiate for more, so there is often a wiggle room,” Pollock said.

If you can’t negotiate higher wages, you can see if employers can offer something, such as more vacation time, the ability to work remotely, or training, he said.

“The funny thing about negotiating higher wages is that companies are actually affected by it,” Pollock noted.

“You are confident in your abilities. It shows that you have other options.”

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors Acorns.

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