Graduate salary

Graduate salaries in 2021

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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 25,766
Average graduate salary by sector, 2021
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 27,558
Advertising & PR 22,500
Architecture & Construction 23,584
Arts & Design 25,606
Banking 29,062
Buying & Merchandising 28,000
Charities 24,808
Computing & IT 27,719
Consultancy 26,588
Customer Service 26,744
Distribution & Logistics 26,834
Education & Teaching 20,839
Energy & Utilities 23,479
Engineering 27,876
Environmental 24,390
Finance 25,688
Food & Drink & Catering 25,409
Health 26,130
Human Resources 25,385
Insurance 27,593
Internet & Digital Media 27,486
Languages 30,772
Legal & Law 21,840
Management 26,561
Manufacturing & Production 23,785
Marketing 25,946
Media 24,190
Military & Defence 29,878
Property 23,705
Public Sector 26,296
Recruitment 25,553
Research & Analysis 27,265
Retail 25,400
Sales 25,969
Science & Technology 28,240
Secretarial & Business Admin 25,717
Sports & Recreation 23,533
Telecommunications 24,394
Training 27,392
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
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