Graduate salary

Graduate salaries in 2021

Find a job

According to the High Fliers report, "The Graduate Market in 2019", the median starting salary for UK graduates in 2021 is expected to be £30,000 for the fifth consecutive year. However, graduate-jobs.com estimated that the average starting salary for graduates (based on the salary details of jobs posted to the site during the same period) was £21,000 - £25,000.

So why the difference? A problem with the majority of research conducted into graduate starting salaries is it usually focuses on the "Top 100" employers who compete with each other (inc. salary) to attract the "top" graduate talent. Therefore most graduate salary research is not a true reflection of the whole graduate recruitment market across.

Skewed salary figures can lead to unrealistic salary expectations amongst graduates. If you aren't starting your graduate job on a £30,000 salary don't conclude that it isn't a reflection of your value or potential value in the market.

We have created a definitive list of the realistic starting salaries based on the whole market using actual salary data from the past 10 years.

£20,000

£22,000

£24,000

£26,000

£28,000

£30,000

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

average salary

■ average salary

average graduate starting salary2012 - 2021

Average graduate salary by year
Year Salary(GBP)
2012 22,258
2013 20,373
2014 21,339
2015 21,366
2016 21,931
2017 22,118
2018 23,506
2019 24,134
2020 24,449
2021 25,439
Average graduate salary by sector, 2021
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 26,653
Advertising & PR 22,250
Architecture & Construction 23,028
Arts & Design 22,606
Banking 29,062
Buying & Merchandising 27,934
Charities 25,062
Computing & IT 27,042
Consultancy 25,286
Customer Service 26,514
Distribution & Logistics 25,324
Education & Teaching 20,298
Energy & Utilities 23,252
Engineering 26,506
Environmental 24,143
Finance 25,915
Food & Drink & Catering 27,569
Health 25,917
Human Resources 25,090
Insurance 26,964
Internet & Digital Media 27,787
Languages 30,869
Legal & Law 21,945
Management 26,540
Manufacturing & Production 23,176
Marketing 26,059
Media 24,040
Military & Defence 29,878
Property 24,245
Public Sector 26,535
Recruitment 25,709
Research & Analysis 26,693
Retail 24,576
Sales 25,616
Science & Technology 26,659
Secretarial & Business Admin 25,322
Sports & Recreation 24,640
Telecommunications 24,063
Training 25,960
Travel & Hospitality 25,479

Example: Your graduate starting salary

You are offered a starting salary of £18,000 per annum - here's what you can do

  • Research whether this is in line with the industry standard for this position. There are a range of online resources to help you understand the industry average and what can be considered fair.
  • If you don't think the salary is fair, you can negotiate, but remember how competitive the graduate job market is.
  • Factor in the location, any perks that accompany the salary and any bonus structures also offered.
  • Remember graduate salaries often increase rapidly during the early years of your career. You can expect to see you salary increase after a probation period and when you start to make a valuable contribution to their company.
Next: 3 Heartbreaking truths about your first paycheque