Eight Great Companies for New Graduates

With May and graduation just around the corner, many soon-to-be graduates are asking themselves the same question new grads have been asking themselves for generations: now what? Some graduates will continue on to medical school, law school, business school and other graduate programs. Others may choose to take some time off. Most, however, will be entering the workforce. If you’re wondering what companies offer the best opportunities for recent graduates, check out this list of eight of the best companies for new graduates. Although the numbers provided for these companies are a couple of years old, they still have similar hiring practices today.

1. Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 8,500
Average starting salary: Low to upper $30s depending upon position

The familiar catchphrase for Enterprise is “we’ll pick you up.” Of course, the company is referring to picking up customers who rent cars from it, but the business could actually use the same phrase on new college graduates. Enterprise is picking up a lot of entry-level new hires, in positions ranging from accountants to manager trainees. The company wants a wide variety of majors, but favors people with degrees in business administration, marketing, accounting, management and so forth.

2. Teach for America

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 4,925
Average starting salary: Low to mid $40s depending upon region

Teach for America is a government organization that is mainly interested in fighting poverty by providing well-educated teachers to low-income areas that have teaching shortages. Teach for America takes college graduates with no teaching experience, gives them a crash course in teaching and places them in a public school for a two-year commitment in an underprivileged school district somewhere in America. Many of the Teach for America alumni end up pursuing graduate degrees in fields such as public policy and law, having been deeply influenced by what they witnessed during their Teach for America tenure. Other alumni end up staying in the field of education, even though they had not originally planned to do so. Michelle Rhee, the controversial educator and former Chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public school system, along with the two founders of the Knowledge is Power charter schools, are all graduates of Teach for America.

3. Verizon Wireless

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 4,250
Average starting salary: Low $30s to upper $80s depending upon position

Talk about expansion. Although Verizon’s official number of new hires provided to the site CollegeGrad.com was a scant 4,250, it later revised that 2011 number to 13,000. Verizon is hiring software engineers, sales reps, business analysts and others, making this company an excellent one for college graduates with various degree types.

4. Hertz Rental

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 4,000
Average starting salary: Mid $20s to low $60s depending upon position

Like Enterprise, Hertz is hiring everyone from management trainees to accountants. As the starting salaries for management trainees are slightly higher at Enterprise than at Hertz, graduates considering such a position should probably try the green car rental company before this yellow one. Accountants and auditors at Hertz, however, are likely to draw a higher starting salary.

5. PricewaterhouseCoopers

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 3,938
Average starting salary: Low $50s to upper $60s

If you have a degree in accounting or business, a big firm like PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) might be right for you. The international firm, which is based in London, is one of the largest accountancy companies in the world. The company’s employees work to advise high net-worth individuals, but mostly companies, about tax and business matters.


Projected number of new entry-level hires: 2,300
Average starting salary: Data not available

KPMG is essentially the same type of company as PWC, just with a different acronym.

7. Ernst & Young

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 2,000
Average starting salary: Data not available

Again, Ernst & Young is a very similar company to the two mentioned above.

8. City Year

Projected number of new entry-level hires: 1,900
Average starting salary: Data not available

Finally, City Year has some good news to provide to liberal arts majors. Unlike the three companies listed above, who are mostly looking for individuals with majors in finance, accounting, business and information technology, City Year is looking for people with majors in education, psychology, social work, sociology and other liberal arts majors. Like Teach for America, City Year is a non-profit organization that hires people between the ages of 17 and 24. New hires commit to serving for 10 months to act as tutors, mentors and all types of community service.

You May Not Like These Companies, But They’re Probably Your Best Shot

When consultancy firm Universum surveyed graduates to find out what their “dream job” would be, Google came out at the top of the list, followed by Apple and Walt Disney. Although the best companies for new graduates listed above may not offer recent college graduates the chance that they long for to explore their creative side and work for the biggest companies in America, the list above at least offers new graduates a reasonable chance at getting hired. Once new hires are on a career path, they’ll have more chance to grow and advance towards the dream jobs they really want. For now, try the eight companies and nonprofits listed above.