Studenten bei Abschlussfeier

Starting salary after graduation

After completing their studies, many graduates are faced with the same question: What salary can I expect when I graduate and how do I deal with the salary question during a job interview? Since your first salary has a pretty big impact on how much you will later earn in the company, it is important to address this issue.

External factors

How high the starting salary is for young graduates depends on several different factors. In addition to the field of study itself, the degree level, the place of work, the industry and the size of the company also play an important role.

  • Diploma: It is not surprising that people with a master’s degree generally earn more than people with a bachelor’s degree. The difference can be up to €300 per month. What’s exciting, however, is that graduates with a business degree and a master’s degree still earn on average €50 more than their fellow students with only a master’s degree.
  • Company size: In addition to the degree, the size of the company also plays a role in the salary level. Companies with a larger number of employees pay more salaries on average than companies with fewer employees. The average annual salary for companies with up to 500 employees is around €48,900, while for companies with up to 1,000 employees the average annual salary is €56,390.
  • Company location: The company location is also an important factor when it comes to salary. Graduates receive the highest salary in Vienna. The average annual gross salary there is €54,900. Burgenland, on the other hand, is where graduates earn the least (€44,170). Styria is in the lower third.
  • Field of study: Of course, in addition to the factors mentioned above, salary also depends on the field of study. If you look at the gross monthly income 3 years after graduation (Uni Graz), you can see that pharmacy graduates receive the highest monthly salary at around €4,235, followed by master’s graduates in business administration (€3,099) and master’s graduates in law (€2,638).

Studenten bei Abschlussfeier

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More Information

Know your own worth

There are several approaches to get an overview of your own realistic starting salary. First of all, it is always advisable to talk to fellow students, friends and acquaintances who are already in professional life. Of course, this only makes sense if these people work in the same or similar area where you also want to gain a foothold. Career fairs also offer a perfect opportunity to quickly get a good overview of starting salaries in the desired industry.

In addition to discussions in person, various websites also offer help, especially the salary compass by the labor market service http://www.lohnskompass.at and the salary calculator of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (Frauenministerium) http://www.lohnsrechner.gv.at. On both websites you have the opportunity to find out comparative values for salaries in different professional groups and industries.

Picture shows interview

Do you negotiate salary when starting out?

People who have been working for several years usually find the question of a salary increase easier than those new to their careers. So that you don’t sell yourself short as a beginner, it is essential to find out in advance about the average salary in your industry and company. Only people who know their own market value can negotiate salary. It is important that you go into the salary negotiation with a goal in mind and possibly think about a salary range (e.g. between 35,000 and 40,000 euros gross per year). Of course, you can only ask for more than the intended starting salary if you have good arguments. Good arguments could include, for example, an exceptionally good degree, internships/professional experience in well-known companies or suitable additional qualifications that set you apart from the rest of the applicants.

Nevertheless, it must be said in fairness that many companies have provided a fixed starting salary for young professionals. In the vast majority of companies, there is very little room for negotiation for young professionals; on average it is less than 10%. The freedom to negotiate increases with your professional experience, which can also include relevant internships or experience abroad.

If you would like support in preparing for your next salary negotiation, please contact us for a consultation.

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