Management consulting offers the best immediate earning potential for graduates, netting them up to £155,000 within four years, according to recent research by supermarket giant Tesco.
Its analysis of data on the government’s careers advice website found that retail was the second most lucrative career option among the top 12 highest grossing graduate jobs, with potential earnings of £140,000 by the age of 25. And IT ranked third, with a graduate systems analyst able to expect earnings of up to £113,000 over the same period.
Graduate doctors (£40,333) and architects (£35,300) were at the bottom of the list. However, their earning potential was curbed as it can take up to seven years to qualify in these professions.
The recession has been unkind to graduates, and the future looks uncertain as it continues to take its toll. Tesco’s research followed a report released earlier this month by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) that predicted that the number of graduate vacancies would fall for the first time since 2003 – by 5.4% this year.
City law firms including DLA Piper, Baker & McKenzie and Penningtons are paying graduate recruits thousands of pounds to defer their employment for a year in a bid to stave off the downturn. And recent research of 100 employers by Incomes Data Services (IDS) showed that employers plan to increase the average graduate starting salary by just 0.5% this year. This means graduates can expect a median starting salary in 2009 of £24,500.
Report author Jessica Evans said: “This is the lowest forecast increase that we have seen since IDS started reporting comparable data on graduate pay in 1999. Not even during the dot-com crash was there such a small increase in graduate salaries.”
But Hayley Tatum, UK operations personnel director at Tesco, said: “Following figures from the AGR that some sectors are downsizing their schemes or removing them altogether, we’re delighted to be able to show our commitment to the various graduate roles we have on offer, and our continued focus on attracting top graduates to our business.
“In fact, this year, we have experienced an extremely high number of graduate applications, and have now filled all our September vacancies.”
Top 12 jobs for graduates (in order of total earnings by the age of 25)
1 Management consultant £155,000
2 Retail £140,000
3 IT systems analyst £113,000
4 Marketing executive £105,001
5 Civil servant £101,458
6 Accountant £99,000
7 Teacher £80,218
8 Structural engineer £74,480
9 Solicitor £73,100
10 Newspaper journalist £63,550
11 Doctor £40,333
12 Architect £35,300