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The Best And Worst Paid Graduate Jobs


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Even that isn't viable in an era of low or zero wage inflation.

Anecdotally I’ve been told a few specialty graduate jobs start on relatively high salaries, but don’t tend to rise that much YOY. Seems like the best way to get ahead these days is to job hop, rather than develop into a single role.

In my last job there was a girl who had done her work experience at the company and then worked there since leaving Uni, about three years. They really didn't like her hanging on and because she had never worked anywhere else she lacked decent experience. It seemed to have stopped her social development as well, she behaved like a teenager.

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If I was living through it all again I'd take a year out after A-Levels and try and get on one of the big apprenticeship schemes - i.e. start on ~12-14k and over the course of 4-5 yrs do a p/t degree whilst salary gradually rises to ~25k, then progress as per grads. Not sure I'd be willing to take on today's levels of uni debt for the chance of a 'graduate job'.

Do we work for the same company or something? Exactly what I would do as well.

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Even that isn't viable in an era of low or zero wage inflation.

I'm talking about structured schemes which started to appear (in IT at least) in 2010/2011. My company runs them as do most of our competitors. You start on ~12k, are funded through a p/t degree and given study leave, whilst your salary is structured to automatically increase by ~3k per year for the five years as long as you complete/pass the degree etc. After that, increases are linked to performance/company pay inflation. Competition for the schemes is intense though - far less availability than traditional 'graduate' roles.

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Even that isn't viable in an era of low or zero wage inflation.

Anecdotally I’ve been told a few specialty graduate jobs start on relatively high salaries, but don’t tend to rise that much YOY. Seems like the best way to get ahead these days is to job hop, rather than develop into a single role.

Job hopping used to be more of an option before, not so easy now monetary wise I would imagine now....two options open, make your way upwards within the same good company that can offer prospects or head hunt your way to new and other places....depends if you are loyal and value security or disloyal and prefer a higher risk. ;)

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Job hopping used to be more of an option before, not so easy now monetary wise I would imagine now....two options open, make your way upwards within the same good company that can offer prospects or head hunt your way to new and other places....depends if you are loyal and value security or disloyal and prefer a higher risk. ;)

That is the question.....ugh. In that exact position in the moment (looking both externally but also internal department swaps to learn new skills).

I just want to play computer games really.

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Big headline - Little story!

Every year about 300,000 people graduate in the Uk.

Report says 16K graduates recruited last year.

So the £29k headline figure is the average of the top 5.6% of graduates. Still it makes a better headline than 94.4% of graduates will be surplus to requirements.

Edited because I read the 2011 report - 2012 report is more forthcoming with facts!

Story based on this report

Further edit - too late Manchester50 has captured my inaccurate ramblings

Edited by Caveat Mortgagor
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Big headline - Little story!

Every year about 300,000 people graduate in the Uk.

My best efforts with my friend google suggest that the £29k is the average salary of only 30,000 jobs. I arrived at this figure as follows:-

The report this story appears to be based on goes into great depth (38 pages) and yet it manages to omit the number of graduate jobs and simply mentions %age increase or decrease in graduate vacancies of recent years. Almost as if they dont want kids to know that only 1 in 10 of uni leavers will get what it says on the tin!

However, the report references a story which suggests that 1 in 3 graduate jobs will go to someone who has previously worked for the same company. The report says 10,00 internships. Assuming they are all successful in getting a graduate role it means that there cant be many more than 30,00 graduate jobs for 300k graduates.

If you can be bothered then the Prospects reports give rounder coverage http://www.prospects.ac.uk/assets/assets/documents/WDGD_2011.pdf

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If I was living through it all again I'd take a year out after A-Levels and try and get on one of the big apprenticeship schemes - i.e. start on ~12-14k and over the course of 4-5 yrs do a p/t degree whilst salary gradually rises to ~25k, then progress as per grads. Not sure I'd be willing to take on today's levels of uni debt for the chance of a 'graduate job'.

I agree. A massive debt is hard enough to pay off on a £35k salary, but if that only applies to 5% of grads and the rest are on sub-£20k (or nothing at all) it soon becomes impossible.

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I presume this is a study based on graduate training schemes.. not graduate recruitment.

Training schemes are usually used to fast-track the best graduates into positions of responsibility.. these will always pay better than your average entry level job. There are also usually very few places available so as others have said, not at all representative of the majority.

I expect the average graduate salary, when you factor in all the ones who end up in Tescos, is probably closer to £17kpa.

I suppose representing it like this explains why so many people don't see the real problems in the housing market. The best grads are taken on at £35k and are probably well into 6 figures by the time they are 30. The older general public see this story and combine it with stories about 400k people going to univeristy every year and suddenly high house prices seem more reasonable.

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These figures apply to the top graduate recruiters. In reality, the average graduate salary is around £22K pa. Average starting salary for someone in A&H and SS is somethng like £14K pa.

Other point ... the big graduate recruiter firms recruit so many grads because of "churn". This is particularly true for city firms. You work there for six years, get chewed up and spat out.

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This kind of nonsense has been trotted out every year since I graduated (2003), and probably many years prior to that too. The figures pertain to a very small, select set of jobs - jobs that are offered to such a small percentage of each year's graduates that their significance to the "average" university graduate is practically meaningless. You may as well talk about "driving jobs" using earnings figures obtained from Formula 1 racing drivers.

The forthcoming increases in tuition fees, coupled with the vast increase in student loan interest rates for 2012 borrowers, mean that it's hardly worth applying for university unless you're one of the tiny percentage of people who can secure these top jobs after graduation. 99% of people, including myself would be financially far better off not going.

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The forthcoming increases in tuition fees, coupled with the vast increase in student loan interest rates for 2012 borrowers, mean that it's hardly worth applying for university unless you're one of the tiny percentage of people who can secure these top jobs after graduation. 99% of people, including myself would be financially far better off not going.

How is an 18-year-old with no life-experience expected to know that three or four years on we'll be in a big recession and those good jobs will be unattainable gold-dust? All they've known at 18 is that they were top of the class at school, way ahead of the teachers, everything they've been expected to 'learn' is a total doddle ... why shouldn't they be lined up for one of those good jobs and a career to match?

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How is an 18-year-old with no life-experience expected to know that three or four years on we'll be in a big recession and those good jobs will be unattainable gold-dust? All they've known at 18 is that they were top of the class at school, way ahead of the teachers, everything they've been expected to 'learn' is a total doddle ... why shouldn't they be lined up for one of those good jobs and a career to match?

That guy/gal is probably ok.. s/he will actually be one of the few who does get in.

The more pertinent question is perhaps, what should the person who came second to top in the class do...

Edited by libspero
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I will read this thread with great interest, let me tell you...

I started on about £24k (seems about average for engineering) back in 2007... God, that seems a long time ago. Now on ~£30k but had no big increases ever (might be due one this year, fingers crossed). Definitely due a rise in any case, especially if that story is true. I know BAE systems, for example, are now offering starting salaries of around £29k.

In fact, take my £24k start and multiply by 1.04^4 comes out at around £28k so maybe could be right? Mind you supposedly engineering grads have some of the best starting salaries, so perhaps skewed...

In reality I think the average salary is less than stated............ they should be taking the mode, not the mean or median.

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I see it states £26.5k for engineering.. sounds about right.

I got offered the chance of a job (I know, not the same as getting it!) in banking in London through a contact once I graduated... think I'd rather have gone to hell (lol) but that was to start at £38k, so the investment banking salary doesn't seem too far off, either.

JESUS.......... My current salary is basically what a graduate gets... and I've been working 4 years!

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I've just been recruiting for a zero-experience engineering graduate for £25-30K. No UK applicants, most were from India or China (one of which has now been hired).

One of the applicants that we declined has offered to work for free until they can find a job.

What kind of engineering? £30k at the top end!? I'm totally getting ripped off right now lol..

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That guy/gal is probably ok.. s/he will actually be one of the few who does get in.

That guy/gal was me, albeit a generation ago. Thought that getting from a big comprehensive school to Cambridge Maths would get me somewhere.

The big killer is graduating into a recession, taking big knocks to the confidence from the rejections, having to take what the **** one can get, and then being hit by the grim reality of finding a room in London.

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I'm in engineering, mixed disciplines, we used to be in the times top 100, probably recruiting high double figures to start this year, currently offering 28k to grads compared to the 22k I started on in 2003. Much the same in real terms, not London based either.

Still a decent progression route to 40k+ too

Argh, again! What kind of engineering? Is it any wonder I complain so much when I've been doing this for 4+ years and all I've had have been sub-standard 'inflation'-based rises and one £1k jump (should have negotiated better but it was credit crunch and I needed a job)...

At this rate I'd be better off applying for a graduate job every time I want to change jobs!! I do wonder if the companies paying these grad salaries are keeping the salaries of current workers up with inflation?

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Anecdotally I’ve been told a few specialty graduate jobs start on relatively high salaries, but don’t tend to rise that much YOY. Seems like the best way to get ahead these days is to job hop, rather than develop into a single role.

I've heard this from many people (this site, pro engineers etc)... it's both good and bad. I love my current company so am relucatnt to move. I ENJOY working there! But when your market rate is diminishing, what are you to do?

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That is the question.....ugh. In that exact position in the moment (looking both externally but also internal department swaps to learn new skills).

+1!! There is a lot of hiring going on right now in my area... but I've pretty much been told I should hang on for when the pay rises happen... thing is I don't want to hang on then be told I'm getting an extra £2-3k when I can go elsewhere for an extra £5k! I've been loyal so far but it's frustrating...

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+1!! There is a lot of hiring going on right now in my area... but I've pretty much been told I should hang on for when the pay rises happen... thing is I don't want to hang on then be told I'm getting an extra £2-3k when I can go elsewhere for an extra £5k! I've been loyal so far but it's frustrating...

Suggestion. Either quit that job or shut up and get on with it.

Whinging on here about a very decent package gets you nowhere.

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My eldest daughter and her boyfriend recently graduated, both with IT degrees and are looking for work, from what they say there is lots of stuff around 20 - 25k, jobs around 30k or higher are fewer and have a lot more competition.

Jobs with the banks and investment companies I find invariably demand a 1st from a "Red Brick University" (i.e. "no riff raff", have seen some actually state "No Polytechnics or Open University") :angry:

Why do you think that might be?

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Argh, again! What kind of engineering? Is it any wonder I complain so much when I've been doing this for 4+ years and all I've had have been sub-standard 'inflation'-based rises and one £1k jump (should have negotiated better but it was credit crunch and I needed a job)...

At this rate I'd be better off applying for a graduate job every time I want to change jobs!! I do wonder if the companies paying these grad salaries are keeping the salaries of current workers up with inflation?

Engineering famously starts you off on a decentish salary then keeps you there for life. Explains why so many management consultants are ex-engineers: the right brain for the job and they were stuck on a pay plateau in their previous role.

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