Graduate salaries to rise as competition hots up

June 28, 2011

The average graduate starting salary is expected to increase for the first time in two years, a report has predicted – but graduates face more competition for jobs.

The summer edition of the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ Recruitment Survey found that its members expect the graduate starting salary to increase by 2 per cent to £25,500 per annum.

Positions in London and the south east are still expected to dominate the jobs market, with over 50 per cent of new vacancies based in or around the capital.

However, while salaries are on the rise, the report also details a rise in competition for jobs amongst graduates. On average, AGR members received 83.2 applications per vacancy in 2010-2011.

The number has substantially increased since 2007-2008, where there was an average of 30.7 applications per vacancy.

The fiercest competition can be seen in the investment banking sector, where an average of 232.5 applications per vacancy were seen. This was followed by companies in the energy, water or utilities sector, where there was an average of 187.8 applications per vacancy.

The investment banking sector also boasts the second highest median starting salary – £36,500 – with graduates entering law firms continuing to have the best median stating salary.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said the survey “provides a welcome indication that the graduate recruitment market is beginning to overcome the impact of the recession”.

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities, said: “Graduates face an extremely competitive employment market, but a degree remains a valuable investment. Most graduates earn a considerable salary premium over those with two A-levels, and Russell Group graduates receive approximately a 10 per salary top-up over others.”

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