I Graduated In 2020, Why Am I Earning Less Than This Year’s Graduates?

[Contributed by Joelle] As a 2020 graduate who earns less than the median salary of last year’s fresh graduates, I can’t help but feel frustrated and disappointed. It’s hard to accept that after spending four years pursuing a degree and investing time, effort, and money in my education, I am not being rewarded accordingly in the job market.

The findings of the 2022 Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey showed a sharp spike in median salaries for fresh graduates from $3800 in 2021 to $4200 in 2022. This highlights the growing disparity between what new graduates and what those who have been in the workforce for a few years are earning. It seems that experience and education are no longer enough to secure a decent starting salary.

It’s particularly disheartening to hear that some companies are offering higher starting salaries to fresh graduates with little to no experience than to those who have been working for a few years.

It’s hard not to feel undervalued and underappreciated in such a situation. We have more to offer than a new graduate. I try to comfort myself by thinking that maybe the data is skewed because of the pandemic. Or maybe there are other factors at play that I am not aware of. However, even with these caveats, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that I am not being paid what I am worth.

I also recognize that I do not have as much experience as those who have been working longer. Hence, it may not be reasonable for me to expect the same salary as them. At the same time, it is discouraging to see fresh graduates earning more than me when I have already been in the workforce for some time.

Moreover, rising costs and inflation are adding insult to injury.

While my wage has increased since I started working, it’s not increasing enough to keep up with the rising costs. It’s frustrating to feel like I am working harder and harder just to stay afloat.

Companies should be more transparent about their salary structures and provide clear career progression paths.

This would help employees to better understand how their salary is determined. It will also explain why fresh graduates in the same company are earning more than I did.

Overall, as a 2020 graduate, I feel like I am in a difficult position. I know I have skills, knowledge, and experience that I can offer to an employer. Yet I’m not that senior. It’s hard not to feel demotivated and discouraged in such a situation. I hope that things will improve in the future.