The job market was not created equal for all Colorado grads.
The staffing firm Robert Half says it’s seeing the most entry-level job openings for college grads in Colorado for staff accountants, financial analysts and human resource generalists. All of the positions had an average starting salary upward of $40,000, said Katie Essman, regional president of the staffing firm Robert Half.
Robert Half is a California-based staffing company that placed about 215,000 people in jobs last year and raked in $5.25 billion in the process. In Colorado, the company is seeing employers struggle to fill positions partly because of the low unemployment rate.
Colorado posted a 2.3 percent (2.2 percent not seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for April. The percentage out of work in the Denver metro was even lower last month at 2.1 percent.
Specialized jobs requiring a degree can be even tougher to fill. In some cases, that’s driving up pay, Essman said.
Staff accountants’ average starting salary in Colorado is about $45,000. It’s about $48,000-$50,000 for financial analysts, and $42,000 for HR generalists, she said.
If it’s money grads are after, Business Insider ranked the top highest-paying jobs nationwide as investment banking analyst ($105,000), data scientist ($93,500) and hardware engineer ($90,000).
Essman has a few tips for prospective employees in Colorado and the companies looking to attract them. She recommends companies know what their benefits are and be able to talk about how they’re perceived and contributing in their communities.
On the flip side, she suggests grads play up their relevant experience with internships, school projects and organizations. Also, because it’s Colorado, employers are interested in students philanthropic activities and volunteering.
“One of the most common flaws for prospective employees is not knowing enough about the positions and companies they’re applying for,” she said.
Another common flaw is thinking that just because adults can legally use marijuana in Colorado, employers won’t be conducting drug tests.
“Any company that has a location outside of Colorado is likely following federal mandates,” she said. “Be prepared to pass a drug test.”
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