Graduate salary

Graduate salaries in 2019 / 2020

Find a job

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

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

average salary

■ average salary

average graduate starting salary2010 - 2019

Average graduate salary by year
Year Salary(GBP)
2010 27,039
2011 26,257
2012 22,496
2013 20,463
2014 21,622
2015 21,597
2016 22,200
2017 22,677
2018 24,051
2019 25,104
Average graduate salary by sector, 2019
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 25,729
Advertising & PR 23,986
Architecture & Construction 24,291
Arts & Design 26,375
Banking 26,467
Buying & Merchandising 26,778
Charities 20,974
Computing & IT 27,396
Consultancy 26,117
Customer Service 24,943
Distribution & Logistics 25,336
Education & Teaching 23,306
Energy & Utilities 25,451
Engineering 28,071
Environmental 26,454
Finance 26,061
Food & Drink & Catering 24,470
Health 24,752
Human Resources 25,546
Insurance 25,424
Internet & Digital Media 27,041
Languages 27,187
Legal & Law 25,874
Management 26,129
Manufacturing & Production 24,799
Marketing 24,620
Media 23,353
Military & Defence 24,978
Property 23,546
Public Sector 24,629
Recruitment 24,764
Research & Analysis 28,107
Retail 24,442
Sales 25,342
Science & Technology 27,047
Secretarial & Business Admin 24,050
Sports & Recreation 21,023
Telecommunications 24,866
Training 24,610
Travel & Hospitality 24,702

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