Graduate salary

Graduate salaries in 2020

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According to the High Fliers report, "The Graduate Market in 2019", the median starting salary for UK graduates in 2020 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

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

average salary

■ average salary

average graduate starting salary2011 - 2020

Average graduate salary by year
Year Salary(GBP)
2011 25,970
2012 22,240
2013 20,362
2014 21,338
2015 21,365
2016 21,930
2017 22,121
2018 23,505
2019 24,133
2020 24,272
Average graduate salary by sector, 2020
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 26,810
Advertising & PR 23,325
Architecture & Construction 23,519
Arts & Design 23,445
Banking 29,375
Buying & Merchandising 28,119
Charities 25,621
Computing & IT 26,379
Consultancy 26,769
Customer Service 25,172
Distribution & Logistics 23,334
Education & Teaching 23,252
Energy & Utilities 24,142
Engineering 25,984
Environmental 26,004
Finance 26,040
Food & Drink & Catering 22,000
Health 25,727
Human Resources 28,113
Insurance 26,216
Internet & Digital Media 25,239
Languages 27,311
Legal & Law 24,577
Management 26,425
Manufacturing & Production 21,879
Marketing 24,844
Media 24,729
Military & Defence 24,787
Property 22,446
Public Sector 25,337
Recruitment 23,716
Research & Analysis 27,206
Retail 22,613
Sales 25,104
Science & Technology 26,922
Secretarial & Business Admin 26,086
Sports & Recreation 22,150
Telecommunications 24,917
Training 26,212
Travel & Hospitality 22,617

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