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Pick Your Internship Wisely: Starting Salary Industry Breakdown

By Diana Zarowin - NYU Graduate

As you can imagine, starting salaries for jobs right out of undergrad vary greatly according to industry. This variation can be attributed to the intensity of the industry, work hours expected per week, money circulation in the industry, previous education or degrees required and more. In some cases, it can also depend on the specific company itself.

We’ve taken a look at seven popular post-grad industries and compiled the inside information on salaries to work hours and more! You’re welcome. Note that these numbers are ever changing and can be influenced by many factors. Use the information below as a rough guide as you begin your post-grad job search. Be sure to do lots of research and due diligence, too. The more informed you are, the better!

Accounting: $60,000 Average Starting Salary (Big 4 Firm)

Typical Workweek: 45-50 Hours

Upsides: Stable career, signing bonus if you have a CPA, a myriad of professional development opportunities and professional networking in-house organizations to take part in.

Downsides: Busy Season (or an end-of-year, financially speaking, several month period in public accounting characterized by extra long workweeks to round out the audit and tax evaluations of a company) can take a toll on employees. Workdays become extra intense and can last as long as 15 hours. Thankfully, this only happens at year-end. The rest of the year is considerably more stable.

Investment Banking: $80,000 Average Starting Salary (Bulge Bracket Firm)

Typical Workweek: 60 - 100 Hours

Upsides: Excellent exit opportunities in high paying financial jobs (such as hedge funds or private equity) and large bonuses if you stay on for significant period of time. You will also develop a strong network through your analyst training class.

Downsides:  There’s the huge downside of lack of work-life balance in the industry, considering how many hours are required to be spent in the office. Another downside is that you don’t get any bonus if you leave before a certain designated period of time.

Publishing: $30,000 - 35,000 Average Starting Salary

This salary range varies more widely based on the particular company

Typical Workweek: 40 Hours

Upsides: Laid-back and friendly environment, most employees are there because they genuinely love books, magazines, or writing and have an real interest in the industry.

Downsides: Not very lucrative, paper media has the stigma of being a dying field, difficult to obtain a job in the industry without knowing someone who can push you through the process.

Start-Up Technical Role: $60,000 - $80,000 Average Salary

Salary range varies on the stage of the start-up and your particular technical seniority and experience.

Typical Workweek: 50+ Hours

Upsides: Hours tend to be amazing (and enjoyable, even if work is tough!), flexibility to work remotely, great vacation perks, extra spending money for professional development opportunities, access to many varied team projects

Downsides: Employees may not receive the same mentorship opportunities or see a familiar hierarchy structure as they would in a  larger firm.

*Pre-Law School Paralegal: $45,000 to $50,000 Average Salary  *

Typical Workweek: Around 40-50 Hours depending on client case load

Upsides: Many lawyers will give paralegals or pre-law employees the opportunity to gain exposure to projects and acquire skills through research and real-time mentoring.

Downsides: Days might be long at times (outside the normal 9-6) and there isn’t much flexibility, given that paralegals are in the bottom part of the hierarchy at a firm. You may also be responsible for administrative tasks.

Pre-Med Lab Position: $30,000 to $45,000

Typical Workweek: 40 Hours

Upsides: Access to medical or science network, hands-on learning opportunities, usually have a link to a hospital and the learning opportunities that can be taken away from that.

Downsides: Pay is relatively low, considering how standard the workweek is.

Non-Profit : $30,000 - $45,000

Typical Workweek: 35-40 hours, with overtime pay after 40 completed hours

Upsides: Nicer work environment because employees who work in nonprofit tend to want to be there (and are not in it for the money!), satisfaction of knowing you are doing good work

Downsides: Since organizations acquire money from donations and fundraising, they may not have extra funds for professional development or have the ability to provide super generous benefits.

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