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  • First-Generation Students: Salary Expectations

    October 26, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A first generation student accepts a job.

    TAGS: compensation, student attitudes, spotlight, special populations

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    The starting salary expectations of first-generation and non-first generation students were similar, with a majority of first-generation students expecting a starting salary between $25,000 and $50,000 and a majority of non-first-generation expecting a salary between $30,000 and $55,000, according to a forthcoming special report based on results of NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey.

    An elevated percentage of first-generation students expected a starting salary lower than $50,000 (73.1 percent of first-generation students vs. 64.1 percent of non-first-generation students), while a higher percentage of non-first-generation expected a salary starting of $50,000 or higher (33 percent of non-first-generation students vs. 26.8 percent of first-generation students).

    These differences in expected starting salaries could be representative of a student’s choice in major and planned job sector, and suggests a relationship between how a student feels their education is valued in the job market.

    The special report on the attitudes, behaviors, and job-search success of first-generation students will be available later this fall. The report is based on results from NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey, which was conducted February 16 – April 30, 2016. Among graduating seniors taking part in the survey, 5,013 self-identified as either first generation (1,925) or non-first generation (3,088). First-generation students are defined as having a parent/parents who does/do not possess at least a bachelor’s degree. The Class of 2016 Student Survey was sponsored by Enterprise. Survey participants can access a full copy of the report through MyNACE. Highlights from the Class of 2016 Student Survey are available at www.naceweb.org/surveys/student.aspx.

    Figure 1: Starting salary expectations between first-generation and non-first-generation students

    Salary expectations Non-first-generation students First-generation students
    More than $80,000 2.8% 1.3%
    $75,001 - $80,000 1.3% 1.3%
    $70,001 - $75,000 2.8% 1.6%
    $65,001 - $70,000 4.4% 2.6%
    $60,001 - $65,000 7.4% 4.9%
    $55,001 - $60,000 7.7% 6.1%
    $50,001 - $55,000 9.4% 9.0%
    $45,001 - $50,000 9.4% 12.0%
    $40,001 - $45,000 11.1% 14.4%
    $35,001 - $40,000 14.9% 13.8%
    $30,001 - $35,000 12.0% 11.8%
    $25,001 - $30,000 7.7% 10.3%
    $20,000 - $25,000 5.7% 7.3%
    Less than $20,000 3.3% 3.5%
    Source: Class of 2016 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers