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 25,181
Average graduate salary by sector, 2021
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 27,819
Advertising & PR 22,875
Architecture & Construction 24,364
Arts & Design 24,985
Banking 28,000
Buying & Merchandising 27,242
Charities 25,264
Computing & IT 27,687
Consultancy 26,984
Customer Service 24,851
Distribution & Logistics 24,205
Education & Teaching 20,739
Energy & Utilities 25,086
Engineering 27,902
Environmental 27,123
Finance 26,340
Food & Drink & Catering 20,609
Health 26,833
Human Resources 26,602
Insurance 26,431
Internet & Digital Media 27,046
Languages 28,827
Legal & Law 22,841
Management 26,844
Manufacturing & Production 21,428
Marketing 26,030
Media 24,572
Military & Defence 29,280
Property 23,820
Public Sector 26,201
Recruitment 25,422
Research & Analysis 27,712
Retail 21,394
Sales 25,467
Science & Technology 28,464
Secretarial & Business Admin 25,648
Sports & Recreation 23,533
Telecommunications 25,446
Training 24,964
Travel & Hospitality 21,555

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