Grad salaries soar as employers jostle for talent – FE News – FE News

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The Class of 2022 need not fear a downturn in the jobs market. Despite the high profile layoffs and crypto crash, job opportunities for graduates have grown strongly year-on-year and pay rates on offer are rising, according to new research from smarter job search engine Adzuna
May 2022 saw 14,690 graduate job vacancies advertised across the UK, +59% higher than 9,265 this time last year, as employers tap up new graduates to plug gaps in their workforces.
In a bid to attract talent, pay rates are also rising. Advertised salaries on offer for graduate openings have climbed to £26,076 in May 2022, up 7% year-on-year from £24,389. It marks a six year high in advertised salaries for graduates. Furthermore, in the most competitive sectors, pay rates have hit new heights, with salaries of up to £70,000 on offer.
Graph 1: Graduate job vacancies and advertised salaries since 2020
However, competition for grad jobs remains hot. With around 540,000 UK students set to graduate this year according to figures from HESA, more than 36 graduates will be vying for every available opportunity in summer 2022.
Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “This is the strongest jobs market we’ve seen for graduates post-pandemic. Despite the negative headlines, plenty of sectors remain desperate for talent and looking to grads to fill those gaps. They’re well paid positions, too – 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.”
10 of the top graduate employers hiring now, include:
Inflation busting graduate pay rates on offer
Crucially for grads concerned about the cost of living crisis being driven by high inflation, many employers have been raising the pay rates they offer.
In the law sector, European firms are struggling to keep up with their American counterparts. US legal firm Davis Polk & Wardwell has bumped up salaries for newly qualified solicitors (NQs) 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 grads £50,000 in their first year, with NQs earning £125,000.
The same is true in banking, with Barclays offering their grads £50k, RBS £31,850, compared to JP Morgan at up to £70,000.
Other employers offering lucrative options include MI5 (starting salaries of £33,000) and BP at £35,000 – £45,000.
The most valuable grads in the UK
Adzuna also dug into which university graduates receive the highest compensation five years after graduation, based on an analysis of over 120,000 UK jobseeker CVs uploaded to Adzuna’s ValueMyCV between 2019 and 2022. Text mining technology was used to look at the career pathways taken by recent grads, and the jobs they are working in 5 years after graduation, revealing average earnings across different institutions.
Oxford and Imperial are beating Cambridge University in terms of leavers’ earnings, with University of Oxford grads bringing in an average salary of £47,618 five years after graduation, compared to £45,741 for Imperial College grads and £44,190 for University of Cambridge grads. Oxford is second only to Bayes Business School leavers, formerly known as Cass Business School but renamed in September 2021, due to links with slavery.
The lowest earning grads meanwhile, studied at Aberystwyth University (£25,129), Bath Spa (£25,196) and Edge Hill (£25,334).
Paul Lewis continues: “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. For those wanting to earn big, London universities are good bets with grads from Imperial College, UCL, and King’s all top earners five years into their careers. Russell Group institutions also dominate the list, showing when it comes to earnings, the stamp of approval from a prestigious academic institution can still make all the difference.”
Table 1: Graduate salaries, by institution
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