Show me the money $$

I often get questions about salary data from our students and parents as well. Salary is a very important consideration when reviewing job offers. But I would also caution that there are other portions of the job offer that are very important as well.

When looking at a job offer you should consider (at the least):

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Perks
  • Start Date

Salary: You might have an offer in Seattle, Chicago, and Richmond, KY. If the amount is the same, you have very different offers. The cost of living in big cities is much higher than smaller cities and much higher on the coasts than in the Midwest. You can easier Google Cost of Living Calculators to compare the cost of living in different cities.

Benefits: Health Benefits are a HUGE consideration these days. Look not only at the cost of the coverage but also the coverage itself: co-pays, deductibles, dental and vision plans. I once had a friend that accepted a new job with a 30% increase in pay, but he actually took a monthly loss because the health benefits were so costly. Retirement is another VERY important factor. Look for a company match on a 401K, then put it whatever extra you can – believe in the power of interest! Vacation time is another benefit that new grads like to consider. Most companies will have a standard level of vacation but when comparing two offers, an extra week the first year will seem important when you suddenly realize that you lose your spring and fall breaks!!

Bonuses: Bonuses can have an substantial impact on your take home pay – stock options are more of a long term bonus. But company bonuses can triple your salary or offer a nice bump at the end of the year – depending on the terms. These are not very common but they do exist. I see a few students each year with bonuses. Most common are sign-on bonuses.

Perks: These are helpful as well: a company car, parking, health club memberships, or childcare are wonderful money savers.

Start Date: Some employers have group training established every June for new hires, other companies offer individual training, with this is mind, you might have some negotiation room with your start date.

If you are considering an offer – Engineering Career Center staff can assist you with terminology and considerations.

Starting salaries in 2013 for UofL Engineering graduates:

MASTER OF ENGINEERING DEGREE
Major Average Offer Louisville Area Average Offer High Offer Low Offer
Chemical $60,143 (7) $55,750 (4) $70,000 $42,000
Civil & Environmental $46,862 (12) $47,355 (8) $55,000 $40,000
Electrical $63,761 (23) $59,318 (11) $78,000 $47,000
Computer Engineering & Computer Science $71,625 (8) $63,250 (4) $95,000 $50,000
Industrial $66,667 (3) (0) $71,000 $60,000
Mechanical $56,982 (24) $53,500 (10) $93,000 $45,000
BioEngineering $56,750 (4) (0) $68,000 $45,000
OVERALL $59,474 (81) $55,198 (37) $95,000 $40,000
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