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 24,133
2020 24,600
Average graduate salary by sector, 2020
Sector Salary(GBP)
Accounting 27,105
Advertising & PR 23,071
Architecture & Construction 24,899
Arts & Design 25,625
Banking 28,450
Buying & Merchandising 27,087
Charities 25,141
Computing & IT 26,902
Consultancy 26,293
Customer Service 25,017
Distribution & Logistics 23,406
Education & Teaching 24,273
Energy & Utilities 25,160
Engineering 26,956
Environmental 27,006
Finance 25,965
Food & Drink & Catering 20,461
Health 26,494
Human Resources 29,642
Insurance 26,475
Internet & Digital Media 25,925
Languages 27,530
Legal & Law 23,336
Management 26,321
Manufacturing & Production 21,071
Marketing 24,982
Media 25,273
Military & Defence 26,089
Property 23,295
Public Sector 27,205
Recruitment 23,875
Research & Analysis 27,081
Retail 20,815
Sales 24,575
Science & Technology 27,632
Secretarial & Business Admin 24,698
Sports & Recreation 22,640
Telecommunications 25,577
Training 26,013
Travel & Hospitality 21,800

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