Survey Shows Gen Z Expects Higher Salaries After Graduation
Career Leadership

Survey Shows Gen Z Expects Higher Salaries After Graduation

Gen Z
(iStock/FG Trade)

If you are an employer and you want to catch the attention of Gen Z, you have to show them the money says a new report.

The latest demographic cohort to enter the workforce are graduating from college with a mindset that sets them apart from other generations. Specifically, they want more financial incentives.

According to a survey released by Clever, the average Gen Zer expects to make $57,964 one year out of college. This is $10,000 above the national median salary for recent grads with bachelor degrees.

That’s right—the new generation entering the workforce isn’t playing it small on the financial scale. They aren’t expecting to sit around and wait for a promotion to get the salary they seek. They are expecting the numbers to work in their favor now so they can exceed the nation’s median salary of $47,000 for recent grads with less than five years of relevant work experience.

Is Gen Z acquiring degrees and skills that will increase their income potential significantly above the average? Or is the next generation of workers creating a new reality where they believe their degree grants them immediate access to a higher salary?

Clever, a real estate data company that connects homeowners with top real estate agents in their area, performed a survey of 1,000 undergraduates to understand salary expectations and career aspirations for the next generation of workers.

Clever also used PayScale’s College Salary Report to analyze undergraduate pay expectations with median early-career salaries across the 11 most popular majors. Those majors include Engineering, Physical or Life Sciences, Nursing, Business, Computer Science, Political Science/Economics, Finance/Accounting, Psychology, Communications/Journalism, Education, and Humanities/ Liberal Arts, English/ History.

Key Findings

  • Early- career salary expectations were higher than the national median across most majors. Business majors had the highest expectations, expecting 31% above the national median.
  • Generation Z prefers financial rewards over workplace engagement and flex time. This is completely different than the purpose-driven goals that millennials sought to achieve in the workplace.
  • Less than 40% of current undergraduates strongly believe their college education is worth the cost. The No. 1 reason Gen Zers pursue higher education is to increase their earning potential.

The study reveals that Gen Z is more financially focused than their millennial colleagues. While millennials were on a mission to find purpose and work-life balance, the new generation is prioritizing more money for their time and skills. Gen Zers are also focused on paying off debt before they make any huge life commitments such as having children or buying a home.

What do these results mean for employers who want to attract top talent? It means that firms will have to create packages that appeal to the needs of the new generation in order to remain relevant in the workplace. If companies don’t find a way to appeal to Gen Z, they may lose out on capturing the next wave of talent that will reshape the workplace.

Or maybe Gen Z will have to be more realistic when it comes to their salary expectations.

The proprietary data featured in this report is derived from a survey commissioned by Clever Real Estate and conducted by Pollfish.

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