These Are The Top Jobs For College Graduates In 2015

The unemployment rate may be historically high for young adults, but new college graduates are in demand in certain industries.

These Are The Top Jobs For College Graduates In 2015
[Photo: Flickr user COD Newsroom]

The job market for new college graduates is red hot, according to the most recent report from Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI).


The survey, the nation’s largest with over 5,000 companies responding, indicates that employers are hiring college graduates at levels not seen since the dot-com boom in 1999-2000. The 16% increase in recruiting comes after several years of single-digit growth, igniting competition for qualified candidates.

The employers surveyed are expected to hire 120,000 new graduates this year, 78% of whom will have just earned bachelor’s degrees.

To dig further into how this all shakes out, we turned to the experts at PayScale to help us parse the positive prospects for grads. Industries with double-digit growth were pulled out and further analyzed by job titles that are expected to have high growth through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


PayScale’s analysis drilled down further to identify the highest salaries, as well as the most job satisfaction and meaning. Measuring the latter two criteria was done on a five-point scale that rated how satisfying and meaningful respondents found their work.

It’s interesting to note that the highest entry-level pay doesn’t automatically translate to high job satisfaction or the feeling the employee is doing meaningful work. In fact, the only job that tops the charts in all four categories is biomedical engineer.

Here is a breakdown of the top jobs for college graduates according to those factors.


Top Salaries
(by entry-level median pay)

  1. Associate Investment Banker $73,829
  2. User Experience Designer $67,532
  3. Front End Developer/Engineer $61,653
  4. Biomedical Engineer $60,752
  5. Forensic Accountant $60,397
  6. Clinical Research Associate (CRA) $59,068
  7. Administrator $59,050
  8. Web Analyst $56,285
  9. Energy Analyst $54,204
  10. Product Marketing Specialist $53,488

Top Jobs By Percentage Growth

  1. Product Marketing Specialist 31.6%
  2. Business Development Associate 31.6%
  3. Process Analyst 26.7%
  4. Biomedical Engineer 26.6%
  5. Web Analyst 24.5%

Top Jobs By Job Satisfaction

  1. Web Analyst 81.25%
  2. Biomedical Engineer 79.66%
  3. Product Marketing Specialist 78.38%
  4. Administrator 75%
  5. Process Analyst 74.19%

The Most Meaningful Jobs

  1. Clinical Research Associate
  2. Energy Analyst
  3. Biomedical Engineer
  4. User Experience Designer
  5. Food Technologist

The CERI report is decidedly more optimistic than the projections we reported from the Economic Policy Institute. The EPI did note that those under 24 years of age have historically been hit with higher unemployment numbers than older adults, which is partly due to inexperience.

But even CERI is reluctant to divine double-digit growth in the coming years, indicating that it remains to be seen whether the increase is a one-year surge before the job market settles down to slower but steady growth.



About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.