Graduate Salaries 2016: What to Expect


You’ve finished uni, you’re up to your eyeballs in debt and it’s time to look for that all-important graduate job. Do you know what that means? MONEY!

Graduate salaries 2016

That’s right, no more beans eaten straight out of the tin or budget brand toilet paper for you, my friend. Exciting times lie ahead, that’s for sure, but it’s also a time of uncertainty for many. One of the main causes of this is the small matter of graduate salaries. You’ve never had a ‘proper’ job before, how do you know how much you’re worth and what level salary you should expect?

Well, it’s a good job you’ve got CareerExperts to help you out. Just like with any job, the average salary is affected by a variety of factors such as the sector, the company and the individual. It’s understandable that graduates may be a little confused when it comes to their salary expectations. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there.

While some Graduate Schemes will offer ridiculously high starting salaries, it’s worth bearing in mind that these are usually linked to super-corporations. Research completed by the Association of Graduate Recruiters in 2013/14 suggested that the average graduate salary was around the £29,000 mark. These figures in general, seem to be a little ambitious to say the least! Large companies can afford to overpay graduates and their schemes are so competitive, impersonal and cut-throat that something needs to be the golden carrot to drag applicants through the door.

It’s better to approach your graduate job hunt with realistic salary expectations in mind. £18,000 – £20,000 is a good benchmark to work towards according to who report that this is an average starting salary based on the variety of roles they advertise. That being said, it’s not the end of the world if you’re offered less than this. Money isn’t the be all and end all.

There are other things a role will offer you that you need to consider when looking for a graduate job. Here are just a few aspects that should definitely sweeten the deal for you.

What you’ll learn

We know you’ve got your degree, but don’t get too big for your boots. The learning doesn’t stop there, now it’s time for your professional education! The main thing to remember is that you’re embarking on a career. Your summer job in a bar or that time you helped out in your uncle’s antiques shop were great for earning a little cash, but now it’s time to start finding your way on your own professional path.

Even if the salary isn’t what you were hoping for, if a job offers you great training, the opportunity to develop new and showcase existing skills (some of which are transferable to numerous roles) and knowledge of an industry you’re interested in, then don’t worry too much about the money. You’ve got an entire career ahead of you and plenty of time to make money. If you invest in yourself and your abilities now, employers will be willing to invest in you in the future.

What else is on offer

Companies are a lot more focused on employee happiness these days. A good salary isn’t always enough to lure in, and more importantly keep, high calibre workers. So, if you’re considering a role and the salary isn’t quite as high as you were expecting, take a look at the full package the company will offer you.

Added perks like bonuses, healthcare, pensions and corporate discounts can make all the difference when it comes to counting the pennies. Additionally, additional benefits such as the company culture, team building activities and office perks will ensure that your day-to-day working life is a happy one!

What lies ahead

This isn’t going to be your job forever, so this isn’t going to be what you’ll earn forever. Think of your graduate job as your first stepping stone into the professional world, everyone has to start somewhere.

As we’ve already said, think about the training, skills and knowledge you can gain from a graduate job. These things will contribute to your ability, path, and therefore worth, in the future. Look into what kind of progression opportunities are available within the company you’re applying to work for. What doors could this role open for you in the future?

If you’re super money-motivated, do a bit of digging into the possible earning potential this career path could open up for you, you may end up pleasantly surprised!

All in all, graduates, your first salary is not what should govern your decision when it comes to selecting an industry or role. You need to make sure that you don’t miss out on a great opportunity that could lead to real career success (and a lot of money) in the future over a couple of grand now. Plus, if you’re on a huge salary, but you don’t enjoy what you do or hate the company you work for, is it worth it? Weigh up every aspect of a job, not just the salary, before you click apply and you’ll soon find yourself on the right path.

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  1. I find the hardest part is knowing what to say when employers ask you what your salary expectations are! You don’t want to go to low and they offer you less but if you go high you might price yourself out of the role. Help!

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