Research Shows Class of 2017's Expectations are Misaligned with Employer Realities

Leading recruitment software provider, iCIMS, releases report on the Class of 2017’s career expectations compared to realities of their potential employers

MATAWAN, N.J. [May 1, 2017] –  The Class of 2017 expects to earn an average of $53,000 in their first job after college, a rise of almost $7,500 from the salary expectations of the Class of 2016, according to a new report from iCIMS, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based talent acquisition solutions.

The second annual study exposes the realities for this year’s college graduates about to enter the workforce across the U.S and their career aspirations including industry, location and salary.

The report also includes advice for the Class of 2017 from enterprise-sized employers, iCIMS customers who are hiring for numerous entry-level positions, including Southwest Airlines, NYU, SAS Institute and Smithfield Foods. Tips include how candidates can improve their resume, sharpen their interview skills and land their first full-time job.

“Despite a perception that today’s job market favors candidates, college seniors will be faced with a competitive landscape after graduation,” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS. “These days many employers are expecting entry-level candidates to have professional experience, such as internships, part-time jobs or volunteer projects as well as strong written and communication skills. According to our research, 70% of recruiters agree that internship experience is more valuable than college GPA when applying for a job and 65% feel that communication skills are more important than a college major.”

Key findings from the report include:

–      Salary expectations: According to recruiters, on average, entry-level employees can expect to earn approximately $45,381 with only 24% of companies paying $50,000 or more. That’s about $8,000 less than what this year’s college seniors are expecting ($53,483).

–      Gender pay gap: The women of the Class of 2017 are far less confident in earning higher wages than men. While 62% of males expect they will earn $50,000 or more, only 49% of women expect to earn that wage.

–      The value of a college degree: The majority of entry-level recruiters (87%) agreed that a four-year college degree would make an entry-level job seeker instantly competitive in the current job market. In fact, 81% of recruiters screen out entry-level candidates because they do not have a college degree.

–      Location preferences: The top cities college seniors would most like to work in immediately after graduation are New York City (35%), Los Angeles (29%) and San Francisco (23%).

–      STEM degrees are in high demand: More than 60% of recruiters are most interested in hiring graduates with STEM majors, while only 23% of the Class of 2017 will earn STEM degrees.

To compile the report, iCIMS conducted a survey among 401 U.S. college seniors and 401 U.S. HR recruiting professionals.

To view the full report, please visit iCIMS Hiring Insights.

About iCIMS

iCIMS is a leading provider of talent acquisition technology that enables organizations everywhere to build winning workforces. For over 20 years, iCIMS has been at the forefront of talent acquisition transformation. iCIMS empowers thousands of organizations worldwide with the right tools to meet their evolving needs across the talent journey and drive business success. Its AI-powered hiring platform is designed to improve efficiency, cut recruiting costs and build exceptional experiences for candidates and recruiters. For more information, visit