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 23,504
2019 24,219
2020 24,165
Average graduate salary by sector, 2020
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 25,390
Advertising & PR 23,225
Architecture & Construction 23,531
Arts & Design 25,614
Banking 26,524
Buying & Merchandising 29,922
Charities 21,518
Computing & IT 27,213
Consultancy 26,382
Customer Service 25,052
Distribution & Logistics 24,511
Education & Teaching 24,732
Energy & Utilities 25,019
Engineering 27,266
Environmental 25,795
Finance 25,817
Food & Drink & Catering 25,240
Health 24,167
Human Resources 26,271
Insurance 25,619
Internet & Digital Media 27,092
Languages 27,841
Legal & Law 27,038
Management 26,559
Manufacturing & Production 24,056
Marketing 24,365
Media 24,010
Military & Defence 24,871
Property 23,437
Public Sector 24,743
Recruitment 24,966
Research & Analysis 28,059
Retail 25,512
Sales 25,463
Science & Technology 26,903
Secretarial & Business Admin 24,834
Sports & Recreation 20,695
Telecommunications 24,700
Training 26,639
Travel & Hospitality 25,746

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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