A Job Hunter’s Guide to the Best Entry-Level Jobs in 2021

By Robert Half on May 10, 2021 at 12:00pm

Landing one of the best entry-level jobs in your field can help you develop vital work experience and launch a long-lasting professional journey. Even better is securing an in-demand role that’s also one of the high-paying entry-level jobs in your industry.

How do you identify those jobs? The 2021 Robert Half Salary Guides are a great starting point. They can give you valuable insight into what starting salaries to expect for many of the best entry-level jobs that employers are seeking to staff this year. Our guides cover several key industries and are among the most respected sources for starting salaries and hiring trends.

Get your free Salary Guide now.

Tips for researching high-paying entry-level jobs

After downloading the Robert Half Salary Guide for your field, take a look at the section titled Using the Salary Tables. There, we explain how we break down pay levels into percentiles that represent every stage of a professional’s career.

Since you’re focusing on high-paying entry-level jobs, look at pay rates in these two percentiles:

  • 25th percentile — This lists entry-level starting salaries that apply to most introductory positions for job candidates who are still developing foundational skills and building up experience.
  • 50th percentile — Also referred to in the guide as the midpoint salary, this percentile may apply to candidates who can bring relevant experience to an entry-level role. For example, if you completed an internship or other work opportunity that’s related to the job you’re vying for, it could help position you for a higher entry-level salary.

Keep in mind that the salaries listed in the Robert Half Salary Guides are national salaries. To determine salary ranges specific to your local area, try using our free Salary Calculator.

A look at some of the best entry-level jobs in top industries

So, what are some of the best entry-level jobs this year? Our research for the Salary Guide suggests that the following 15 entry-level jobs are among those in highest demand right now. We’ve organized them by industry and give you the general responsibilities, types of skills most employers are looking for and starting salaries to expect for these roles.

Technology

Data analyst/report writer

Data analysts/report writers extract and report on an organization’s technical information in ways that make it easier for the business to use its data for decision making. Typical duties for this role include analyzing complex data systems and documenting data elements, data flow, relationships and dependencies. Data analysts/report writers also often need to collaborate closely with business analysts, data architects, data scientists and database developers to build data extraction, transaction and warehousing systems.

The most sought-after candidates have quantitative skills and problem-solving abilities, as well as thorough knowledge of relational database theory and practice. The 25th salary percentile for these high-paying entry-level roles is $86,250, and the midpoint sits at $103,250.

Find data analyst/report writer jobs.

Front-end web developer

Front-end web developers use code to develop engaging web- and mobile-based applications. They use markup languages to translate designs to the web and create intuitive functionality. They’re also responsible for website enhancements and routine maintenance.

Demand for front-end web developers is increasing faster than that for many other professions in the country. Factors driving this growth include an emphasis on user experience (UX), the ubiquity of mobile devices and the rapid expansion of digital commerce. National salaries for entry-level front-end web developers with in-demand skills can range from $72,000 to the midpoint of $88,000.

Find front-end web developer jobs.

Help desk support

If you want to enter the tech space, help desk jobs are a good place to start. This role allows you to increase your knowledge of various technologies and hone your communication skills by assisting customers with technical issues. As such, working as a help desk support professional requires excellent problem-solving abilities, as well as patience, a friendly attitude and the ability to work as part of a team. A solid understanding of relevant hardware, software and network programs is also critical.

Employment for computer support positions will likely increase 8% by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is much faster than average. The 25th percentile salary for an entry-level help desk job at the Tier 1 level is $35,250. Larger companies may pay closer to the 50th percentile salary of $40,500.

Find help desk support jobs.

Web developer

All types of companies need web developers to support their online presence, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of digital commerce. But even before the pandemic, these professionals were in high demand — and hard to find — making web development one of the most lucrative fields for entry-level professionals. Employment for web developers is projected to rise 8% by 2029, which is much faster than average, according to BLS data.

Web developers create websites and applications using a range of programming languages such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Employers typically look for candidates with in-depth knowledge of internet protocols and applications and a solid grasp of digital business strategy. Entry-level candidates with in-demand skills can expect to earn a salary around $87,250; the midpoint salary for this role is $106,250.

Find web developer jobs.

Accounting and finance

General accountant

An accountant’s job typically includes assisting with audit fieldwork, both operational and financial; balancing ledger accounts; and correcting account discrepancies. As accountants move into more senior roles, they may also prepare financial statements and support month-end and year-end closes. Employers look to hire accountants with strong Microsoft Excel, time management, analytical reasoning and communication skills. Candidates with public accounting experience are highly marketable.

Accountants are consistently in demand at certified public accounting firms. These roles sometimes start as temporary through tax season and turn into full-time positions later. The national 25th percentile salary is $40,000 for candidates with up to one year of experience. Starting salaries at larger firms may reach $48,750 or more at the 50th percentile.

Credentials such as the certified public accountant (CPA) or advanced degrees like a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) can push your resume to the top of the pile and net you higher pay for a general accountant role.

Find general accountant jobs.

Financial analyst

Companies need financial analysts to prepare profit and loss models, balance sheets and other data-driven management reports. These professionals must be able to communicate effectively across all levels of an organization since they are often expected to interact with executive management, project leaders, sales managers and other financial professionals. A thorough knowledge of general accounting procedures, reporting and expense analysis, and journal posting is typically required.

A professional certification such as a CPA designation is a plus for the financial analyst role. Also, many employers look for candidates with an MBA. Candidates with up to one year of experience could earn a starting salary around $44,250 at the 25th percentile — and upwards of $53,500 at the 50th.

Find financial analyst jobs.

Loan administrator

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many lenders have been expanding their hiring of loan administrators and other professionals, like loan processors, to keep up with applications for financial assistance, including coronavirus-related relief provided through U.S. government programs. And as the economy moves toward recovery, lenders will need loan administrators to field requests from customers seeking loans to jump-start new ventures, make improvements or help cover other expenditures.

A loan administrator’s duties include processing or monitoring loan payments. They help ensure that loan documentation is properly put together and signed, collateral is documented appropriately so that the bank is protected, loans are set up in the bank accounting system, and clients are properly billed. Entry-level salaries for this role range from $28,250 to $33,750.

Find loan administrator jobs.

Creative and marketing

Content strategist

The content strategist’s core responsibility is developing an effective content strategy based on a company’s or client’s business objectives and customers’ needs. That includes planning, creating and managing content that is relevant, engaging, easy to find, actionable and shareable across digital platforms. Other duties can include providing guidance on which channels to use for content delivery and measuring customer engagement to assess the effectiveness of the content strategy.

Content strategists should be high-level thinkers, standout idea generators and problem solvers. Employers often prefer candidates with strong search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) skills and project management experience. Content strategists in the 25th percentile can earn a starting salary of $62,250; the midpoint salary for this role is $74,500.

Find content strategist jobs.

Copywriter

Copywriters can be key players in helping campaigns stand out and resonate with target audiences. Working for agencies and creative departments, these professionals rely on their exemplary writing skills to craft copy for websites, ads, marketing materials and more. Their portfolios include work that is innovative and polished — and adheres to their company’s or clients’ brand, voice and style guidelines.

Demand is running high for these skilled professionals as more companies invest in content marketing and need writers to develop copy for various channels — online and offline. Entry-level copywriters can earn salaries from $60,250 at the 25th percentile to $73,000 at the midpoint.

Find copywriter jobs.

Administrative

Executive assistant

From screening calls and managing calendars to making travel arrangements and coordinating meetings and events, executive assistants provide invaluable clerical, administrative and logistical support to executive managers. These demanding administrative support roles are always evolving in their responsibilities, including learning new technology.

Executive assistants typically need strong computer and internet research skills, flexibility, excellent interpersonal abilities, and project coordination experience. Successful candidates provide high-level administrative support and have the ability to work well with all levels of internal management and staff, and outside clients and vendors. Training and supervising other staff may be a job requirement as well. Entry-level salaries for executive assistants range from $46,000 to $56,000 at the midpoint.

Find executive assistant jobs.

Human resources (HR) assistant

HR assistants help HR directors and managers with an array of HR-related tasks, from screening phone calls and scheduling interviews to locating potential job candidates and planning new-hire orientations. And as companies assemble a workforce to help them meet business demands in the recovery, they’ll be relying even more on their HR team to help them secure and retain in-demand talent.

An HR assistant position can be a solid foundational step toward launching an HR career. A successful candidate for this role possesses strong communication, interpersonal and organizational skills, as well as solid computer skills. Entry-level salaries for HR assistants range from $34,000 at the 25th percentile to $37,500 at the midpoint.

Find HR assistant jobs.

Mortgage assistant

With mortgage rates still low, many homeowners are looking to refinance and reduce their monthly payments — and many people are looking to buy new homes, as well. Mortgage processors, also often referred to as loan officers or mortgage loan processors, need help reviewing loan applications, preparing letters of credit for clients, tracking loan processing and billing, and providing timely customer service. Mortgage assistants can provide support for all of the above — and more.

Mortgage assistant positions often require a high school diploma or equivalent and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Requirements for the mortgage assistant role typically include solid organizational and communication skills, a solid mathematical foundation, and solid problem-solving skills. These professionals can expect to see starting salaries ranging from $31,000 at the 25th percentile to $33,250 at the midpoint.

Find mortgage assistant jobs.

Legal

Case clerk

This entry-level role supports lawyers and other legal staff. Case clerks take on research, document review, data entry and case file management. Basic qualifications for this role include excellent organizational skills and attention to detail and computer expertise. Candidates with knowledge of legal software and database programs are especially marketable.

Case clerks can gain deep insight into the legal support function, which can give them a strong foundation for making a future move up to a paralegal or legal assistant position. Entry-level salaries for case clerks with less than two years of experience currently range from $40,250 to $44,000 at the midpoint, depending on the market and size of the firm.

Find case clerk jobs.

Document coder

Document coders take the information obtained in discovery and organize it by priority in case management systems. Their roles can also make eDiscovery and trial preparation more efficient. Document coders’ heavy involvement in litigation support means that they can learn a lot about fast-growing practice areas — valuable knowledge they can take with them to their next legal job.

Skills required for the document coder role include a general understanding of legal concepts and meticulous attention to detail. Starting salaries for this position range from $35,500 at the 25th percentile to $40,000 at the midpoint, depending on the size of the firm and a candidate’s qualifications.

Find document coder jobs.

Title closer

These professionals play a vital part in sealing real estate deals — and the role can be a launching pad to a real estate or lease administration career. Title closers are responsible for preparing documentation required for property sales: mortgage documents, deeds, tax records, insurance policies and more. They also review these documents for issues, such as outstanding liens or taxes due. Duties for the title closer role may also include preparing title commitments, settlement statements, financial distributions and closing packages.

Basic qualifications for title closers include a notary license and some training in real estate transactions, contract preparation, title regulations, record keeping and research. The national entry-level salary for title closers is $37,000. At larger firms, candidates may start nearer to the midpoint salary of $44,000.

Find title closer jobs.

If you’re on the hunt for the best entry-level jobs, Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, has five tips that can help make your search successful. See this short video.

Don’t see the role you’re aiming for?

The 15 positions above are just a sampling of the many roles you’ll find listed in Robert Half’s Salary Guides for 2021. To research salaries for other jobs, download the guide that’s most relevant to your profession — administrative, finance, creative and marketing, legal, or technology — and explore the salary tables.

If you’re ready to start looking for high-paying entry-level jobs, check out the latest postings on our site to find on-site or remote opportunities available now that may meet your criteria.

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