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 24,161
2020 24,025
Average graduate salary by sector, 2020
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 25,098
Advertising & PR 23,896
Architecture & Construction 23,946
Arts & Design 24,840
Banking 27,104
Buying & Merchandising 30,154
Charities 23,243
Computing & IT 27,192
Consultancy 26,324
Customer Service 25,485
Distribution & Logistics 23,843
Education & Teaching 24,699
Energy & Utilities 25,043
Engineering 27,301
Environmental 26,157
Finance 25,773
Food & Drink & Catering 23,371
Health 24,277
Human Resources 26,052
Insurance 25,619
Internet & Digital Media 26,704
Languages 27,092
Legal & Law 26,688
Management 26,669
Manufacturing & Production 22,520
Marketing 24,770
Media 24,745
Military & Defence 24,334
Property 23,415
Public Sector 26,275
Recruitment 24,503
Research & Analysis 27,812
Retail 22,901
Sales 25,440
Science & Technology 26,962
Secretarial & Business Admin 25,985
Sports & Recreation 20,829
Telecommunications 24,628
Training 26,251
Travel & Hospitality 24,270

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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