Yoing graduates
A report of the Economic Policy Institute said the hourly wage gap between black young college graduates and their white counterparts is growing in the U.S. McElspeth/Pixabay

As many college grads prepare to join the workforce, they enter with a bright-eyed optimism about their future and the kind of money they could make. However, a new survey reveals that they may be setting unrealistic ideas about how much money they will make.

The survey came from List with Clever, who spoke with 1,000 GenZ undergraduates about their career and salary hopes coming out of college.

The results revealed that most GenZ undergrads expect to make over $57,000 within one year of graduating college. This is nearly $10,000 more than the national median average of $47,000 for recent grads with bachelor’s degrees with zero to five years of proper workplace experience. Most GenZ undergrads also overestimate the amount of money they will be making mid-career by nearly $15,000.

Business grads had the most unrealistic expectations, with a difference of nearly $15,000 between the grads expectations and the median salaries. Not far behind were science grads, which averaged a difference of nearly $14,000.

Gender was found to play a factor in salary expectations coming out of school, as well. Expectations were not that far apart as the survey found men expected to make $4,000 more than women for early salaries. The mid-career difference is much starker, with the survey finding that men expected to be making almost $20,000 more than women.

However, there were still some outliers found in the results. While a majority of undergrad expectations were higher than the median, grads with degrees in nursing and computer science actually underestimated their expectations compared to median salaries. Engineering and humanities grads also had more realistic expectations of their salary versus the median salary.

Unrealistic expectations may be reflected in GenZ spending. It was found that recent grads have been actively spending less compared to previous generations one out of school.