Advertised graduate salaries have reached a six-year high of £26,076.
Figures from job search engine Adzuna show that in May 2022 there were 14,690 graduate job vacancies advertised in the UK compared with 9,265 this time last year.
In a bid to attract talent and to keep up with inflation, pay rates were also rising with advertised salaries on offer for new graduates climbing to £26,076 in May 2022, up 7% year-on-year from £24,389. This constituted a six-year high in advertised salaries for graduates, said Adzuna.
However, competition for grad jobs remained hot, according to Adzuna. With about 540,000 UK students set to graduate this year, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, more than 36 graduates will be vying for every available opportunity in summer 2022.
Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at job search engine Adzuna, said plenty of sectors remained “desperate” for talent and looking to graduates to fill those gaps. “They’re well paid positions, too,” he said, “with advertised salaries for graduate roles hitting a six-year high and some sectors offering pay cheques up to £70k. It’s a welcome piece of good news for the Class of 2022, who battled remote learning and pandemic pressures over the last two years.”
Adzuna highlighted several large employers offering particularly good graduate salaries including Aldi (£44,000 starting salary); Lidl, supply chain graduate programme, paying £37,000; and the likes of Sage, KPMG, EY, and Deloitte.
Other employers offering lucrative options include MI5 (starting salaries of £33,000) and BP at £35,000-£45,000.
In the legal sector, Adzuna found, European firms were struggling to keep up with their US counterparts. In the US, for example, Davis Polk & Wardwell has bumped up salaries for newly qualified solicitors by 8.5% from £147,500 to £160,000, while its graduates earn £60,000. By comparison, Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is offering graduates £50,000 in their first year, with newly qualified solicitors earning £125,000.
Similarly, in banking, Barclays in the UK was offering graduates £50k and RBS £31,850, compared with JP Morgan at up to £70,000.
To reveal which graduates from which universities earned the most, Adzuna analysed career pathways taken by recent graduates, and the jobs they were working in five years after graduation. This showed, predictably given the UK’s social mobility issues, that Oxford and Imperial were beating Cambridge University in terms of leavers’ earnings, with University of Oxford graduates enjoying an average salary of £47,618 five years after graduation, compared with £45,741 for Imperial College and £44,190 for University of Cambridge. Oxford was second to City, University of London’s Bayes Business School, whose leavers earned around £52,000 after five years.
Again, reflecting the importance employers place on prestige rather than talent, Russell Group institutions featured strongly at the higher end of earnings potential. Paul Lewis said: “The choice of university can massively impact earning potential, with students from the most prestigious institutions raking in over £20k more a year on average five years post graduation, compared to grads from lesser-known places of learning.”
Earlier this year a report by Universities UK found that almost a million graduate jobs remained unfilled in the UK at the end of 2020.
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