Are Your Graduate Salary Expectations Realistic?

There are many aspects to consider when looking for your first graduate role, but starting salaries are often considered one of the most important for new graduates.

You’ve worked hard and achieved a good degree and now you want to be rewarded with a high-paying and successful career. But what can you expect to be earning in your first graduate job?

Graduate salaries vary massively depending on the role, sector and industry. High Fliers’ research suggests that the average starting salary for graduates in the UK in 2023 is £30,000 and this figure has not changed since 2015. However, given their research only covers the largest graduate employers in the UK, this figure will only apply to a small minority of graduates.

A more accurate indication comes from which reports that the average starting salary for jobs posted is £25,660. We believe that for the vast majority of graduates, this is a more realistic expectation to have.

While of course, you want to have a great starting salary, don’t let money alone dictate your decision about whether to apply for a role or accept a job offer. Looking at the bigger picture could make you realise that in the long run accepting a lower starting salary could set you up for a much more successful career and higher earning potential in the future.

Here’s what you really need to consider:

1. Training

When starting out in your first graduate role, receiving great training and having access to an experienced mentor are extremely valuable for your career. This is the time to lay strong foundations by developing your skills and expertise. With the right training initially, you can flourish and work your way up the career ladder.

2. Earning potential

Your starting salary isn’t your salary forever, in fact, it may only be your salary for 6 months. Consider what the progression path is for the role you have applied for and see if you can find out how often the company conducts salary reviews. You may be surprised by how quickly you can push those numbers up!

3. The whole package

What does the company offer you beyond a basic salary? Is there a bonus scheme that will boost your earnings? What company rewards and benefits are on offer? Does the company culture suit you down to a tee? Companies have so much more to offer than just a salary, so consider all of these factors when making your decision.

4. The industry

As we already mentioned, the industry you enter will have a big impact on what salary you earn both now and in the future.

Looking for and securing a graduate role is rarely easy. Make sure that you’re not pricing yourself out of great opportunities by having unrealistic salary expectations. By properly assessing graduate jobs as a whole, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and one that will lead to career success!

Are you looking for a graduate job? Check out our current graduate opportunities here.

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