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Graduate salaries in 2016 / 2017

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According to the latest High Fliers report, The Graduate Market in 2016, the median starting salary for UK graduates in 2016 is £30,000. However, graduate-jobs.com estimates the average starting salary for graduates is £19,000 - £22,000.

The problem with the majority of research conducted on graduate starting salaries is the concentration on prestigious employers who can afford to pay big money and compete for the best graduate talent. The High Fliers report focuses on the top 100 graduate employers and therefore should not be seen as a true reflection of the market.

Inaccurate figures can lead to unrealistic salary expectations among graduates. £30,000 starting salaries are not be available for everyone and it only applies to a minority of top-of-the-class graduates in the UK.

High Fliers’ average starting salary of £30,000 only applies to a tiny minority of graduates in the UK.

Graduate starting salaries can be influenced by many factors including company, location and sector, so it is difficult to put an exact figure on the real average starting salary in the UK.

One interesting discovery made by High Fliers is the increase in salaries found in certain sectors. Graduates in the Media sector can expect an 8% increase to their median salary and Banking and Law will also see a 4.4% and 2.5% increase respectively.

One area of concern for university leavers is graduate salaries in 2016 and 2017 do not show an increase to compensate with higher tuition fees. High Fliers found employers only increased their salaries in 2015 and 2016 to remain competitive and to compete for the best graduate talent.

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.
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