College students may not be out in the workplace yet—at least, not full time—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some tall expectations about what their jobs will bring them in terms of salary, benefits and even retirement accounts.
That is, except for women.
Female students are 20 percent less likely than their male counterparts to expect to make the most common salary expectation among respondents to the 2017 Yello Collegiate Survey—Undergraduate Expectations from talent acquisition company Yello.
While 65 percent of college students expect to make more than $60,000 as an entry-level salary, based primarily on their education and major, 10 percent of students seeking jobs in the tech industry expect even more—they’re looking for an entry-level salary of more than $100,000.
Not that that’s realistic, according to a recent study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which found that the class of 2015 earned an average starting salary of $50,219. Looking for nearly $10,000 more than that in a year seems a trifle overoptimistic.
The sad news is that women’s expectations are not that high: a fifth of women surveyed say they don’t expect to make $60,000 their first year—although they should have higher expectations.
They’ve internalized the gender pay gap before even entering the workforce—which could handicap them from now through retirement, since lower salaries mean lower retirement savings.
While 65 percent overall of students expect that first paycheck to amount to $60,000, among male students 73 percent look upon it as a given; just 53 percent of female students have their sights set equally high.
One area students aren’t backward in, though, is what they want to help them toward eventual retirement. In spite of the fact that they carry major debt in the form of student loans, they want 401(k) matching as a benefit two times more than student loan repayments or additional education subsidies.
Not that student loan repayment assistance isn’t popular, but just 23 percent of students chose it as the factor that would most affect their choice of employer.
Another 31 percent would seek out a continuing education stipend. But 46 percent said the benefit that would have the most positive effect is a 401(k) match—something employers looking to recruit new graduates would do well to remember.