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Bachelor vs. Master: Entry-level employee: These are the top and flop jobs for university graduates | message


In order to discuss the entry-level salaries of the various occupations and the added value of a master’s degree compared to a bachelor’s degree, 13,317 data records were examined and evaluated. Only those subjects who had a maximum of three years’ professional experience were explicitly considered. The aim of the study was to investigate the job in which a Bachelor or Master graduate receives the highest and the lowest starting salary.

Studying is not a guarantee of a top salary

School leavers who believe that only a course of study leads to a high salary and that traditional vocational training is unprofitable, are certainly wrong with this assessment in some occupations. Because a university degree is no longer a guarantee for a highly paid job. For example, graphic designers, architects and customer advisors have to be satisfied with a bachelor’s degree with a very low starting salary.

Architects are lagging behind, no matter whether Bachelor …

The starting salary as a graphic designer, after completing your studies, is at a very low level with a median value of 29,866 euros. But architects and customer advisors should not expect too much either with a median starting salary of EUR 30,651 and EUR 33,009.

“Architects are among the least rewarded academic professional groups in the construction industry. One reason for this is the large number of small architectural firms that cannot afford top salaries. Large offices are coveted and the competition for a place is correspondingly strong,” says Dr . Philip Bierbach, the managing director of PMSG Personal Markt Services GmbH.

… or master graduates

Students who want to start as graphic designers, editors or architects after completing their master’s degree start with a similarly low starting salary as after completing their bachelor’s degree. After completing his master’s degree, the graphic designer only earns an annual salary, which is a median of 32,255 euros. This means that the graphic designer only earns € 2,389 more a year despite a master’s degree. The situation is similar for architects: While the median salary after a Bachelor’s degree is EUR 30,651 per year, it is only slightly higher after the Master’s degree at EUR 33,435 per year. Master’s graduates who switch to the journalism industry after completing their studies must also expect a very low starting salary. Because the median value of an editor’s starting salary at 32,705 euros per year is still lower than that of the architect.

Master of disaster?

The study clearly shows that the wage gap in the rather poorly paid professions such as that of graphic designers and architects is very small. Architects with a master’s degree can only count on a wage increase of 2,784 euros per year. For graphic designers, the additional master’s degree is only reflected in an annual salary increase of 2,389 euros. If you now assume that you need at least four more semesters at the university for a master’s program, it becomes clear that these small salary increases are in no way proportionate to the costs and effort of a further study.

Master’s degree brings an average salary increase of 3,000 euros per year

The median starting salary for an average Bachelor graduate is around EUR 43,192 a year, for a university graduate with a Master’s degree it is EUR 46,011, almost EUR 3,000 more. However, there are also some industries that are already paying their Bachelor students a substantial salary. For example, IT consultants or sales engineers with a median Bachelor’s degree earn around 50,004 or 48,860 euros per year.

More education, more wages

Graduates who invest more time in their training at the university also receive a higher starting salary depending on the industry. Especially for university graduates who want to work as controllers or risk managers, a master’s course is particularly worthwhile. With an entry-level salary, which is a median of 57,584 euros per year, you are already one of the better earners. An equally lucrative entry-level salary is also available to those employed in technical research and development or to the production engineer. Master’s graduates receive an entry-level salary of 52,731 and 51,497 euros per year in these two professions.

IT and engineering professions offer top entry-level employees

The study clearly shows that university graduates have a good chance of getting a high salary if there is an extreme shortage of skilled workers in the relevant sectors. This particularly includes engineering and IT professions. Furthermore, depending on the subject and specialization, students should carefully consider whether a master’s degree still brings significant added value, depending on their bachelor’s thesis.

Pierre Bonnet /

Image sources: Hans-Peter Merten / Getty Images, fotolia

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