Graduates leaving university this summer will be greeted by the most buoyant jobs market since the recession. Not only is the market expecting to recruit more graduates than last year, expected salaries are also on the increase. This represents fantastic news for the first cohort of graduates to pay the higher rate of tuition fees.
Leading the way on the salary front is Aldi. The budget supermarket offers Trainee Area Managers a salary package of £42,000 and an Audi A4. The European Commission finishes a close second, offering successful applicants salaries of £41,500. There are, however, reports of starting salaries that exceed even Aldi’s offering. The Daily Mail report some investment banks are offering in excess of £50,000 as a starting salary. In such cases, higher salaries tend to be associated with opportunities confined to the capital. The average salary for a graduate recruit has now reached £30,000, after years of stagnation at £29,000. The graph below depicts the change in graduate salaries since 2004: –
The figures come from a survey carried out by High Fliers. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is that of 700 unfilled job vacancies amongst the Times Top 100 graduate employers last year. In a market that has previously experienced crippling unemployment amongst graduates, such a number represents a much brighter horizon to greet young people upon their university exit. For an overview of average salaries for graduates, the following article provides a great overview.
The largest recruiter of graduates will be the charity Teach First. The organisation offers graduates the chance to teach in disadvantaged schools as part of a 2 year placement. The organisation provides teacher training for each recruit. They offer the option to continue teaching at the end of the placement, or to pursue a career along a more corporate path. The charity supports either decision, and has created strong links with large corporate organisations to support recruits who wish to explore this career option.
Sectors that provide the most numerous opportunities for graduates include accountancy, professional services, retailers, and the armed forces. The most lucrative (in terms of remuneration) include banking and finance, law and energy.
The reasons behind such increases in graduate salaries aren’t driven by some corporate Robin Hood mission to alleviate graduates from their student debt, but rather a move towards attracting the best graduate talent.
In an age where companies rely on young talent to provide the crux of their continuity plan, and to provide innovation and creativity to ward off would-be game changing startups, winning the graduate talent race is more important than ever. Salaries represent one arrow in the quiver to help recruiters win the tussle. However, research has repeatedly shown this generation to be acutely aware of their journey in life and personal growth. Motivating this new generation requires a more nuanced approach. Career progression, learning opportunities and professional development are high on the agenda of a new graduate. They like to feel they are on a journey of self development, and require clear lines of progression.
Offering opportunities for growth and personal development is a necessity, and one that graduate recruiters should be equally as keen to emphasise, as well as their financial offerings.