Majority of U grads making less than $30,000 in the first year of work

Most students go to college to get a better paying job after they graduate. But a new study shows that the majority of U graduates are making less than $30,000 their first year out of college.

Fifty-one percent of U graduates reported earning less than $30,000, according to a report by the nonprofit Utah Foundation.

That is slightly better than Brigham Young University and Southern Utah University, which reported 55 percent and 69 percent respectively.

But it is worse than Utah Valley State College (41 percent), Westminster College (40 percent) and Weber State University (47 percent).

The survey-conducted in the summer-is based on responses from 1,943 Utah college graduates.

Career Services at the U keeps similar data, and director Stan Inman said a $30,000 salary is what students can expect coming out of college.

Inman said problems happen when collecting this type of data.

“Some graduates report their first-time professional job while others report their continuing job they had while in college,” he said. “Sometimes graduates do not immediately take a professional opportunity, or they don’t receive an immediate pay increase.”

Although Westminster College has slightly fewer graduates earning less than $30,000, UVSC exceeds other schools in the proportion of bachelor’s degree graduates earning $40,000 or more.

UVSC graduates are much more likely to have studied business, computer science or other higher-paying, career-oriented subjects, which gives them the statistical edge in salary rankings, said Robert Pak, research analyst.

But this may change in the future.

Inman said that more employers are choosing to recruit from the schools of humanities or social sciences rather than directly out of the school of business because they are recognizing the value these graduates are bringing to their company.

“As the market tightens and the demand for new hires go up, employers will increasingly look at graduates without specific training for the businesses discipline,” Inman said.

The low salaries for U graduates likely can be attributed directly to lower salaries for all workers in the state. The average annual salary for Utah in 2004 was $32,171, which is below the national average of $39,354.

“There is a positive outlook for college graduates. There is no question that, over a lifetime, those who have a college degree are going to earn more money than if they did not have it,” he said. “That starting salary can be important?over a career path you can only advance from that starting salary.”

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