Public sector pay for graduates overtakes private sector for first time

Starting salaries for graduates in the public sector are higher than those in the private sector for the first time, research has revealed.


The average salary for a graduate going into the public sector will be £21,445 this year – 7% above the average private sector wage of £20,035. Civil service pay is outpaced only by the lucrative oil industry, where graduates can hope to secure an average starting salary of more than £25,300.


Overall, UK graduates can expect to earn an average starting salary of £20,306 this year, according to the First Rung: Graduate Pay Trends report from management consultancy Hay Group.


The study is based on information from public and private sector employers throughout the UK.


Rob McPherson, the pay analyst at Hay Group who conducted the study, said: “As we a see a trend towards increasing professionalism in the public sector, management training schemes in public bodies such as the NHS and the Civil Service are paying graduates very competitive wages.”


However, wage inflation for university leavers is lagging behind national levels, the report finds. Ahead of the national average in 2004-05, this year graduate pay is up just 2.4% since 2005. This compares to a national wage inflation level of 3.2% over the last year.


 

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