The average starting salary for graduates has risen above £26,000, freshbusinessthinking.co.uk reports.
In its bi-annual salary survey, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reported that graduates could now expect to earn around £26,500 in the first few years after leaving university – with jobs in London still among the highest payers.
The figures represent a more significant rise than analysts had predicted. In the months leading up to the report, the total was expected to rise by four per cent to £26,000. Instead, the figures rose by six per cent and currently stand at £26,500.
In further good news for graduates, the pace at which the job market has been contracting saw a decline; suggesting the market may be levelling out. Whereas previous predictions said the market would shrink by 1.2 per cent, in reality the figure was just 0.6 per cent.
As the job market stabilises, the number of applicants going for each job has also dropped. Now, an average of 73 people apply for each job, down from the figure of 83 witnessed last year. Furthermore, recruiters noted that the quality of applications had also increased over the past 12 months.
Speaking to hrmagazine.co.uk of the results, the chief executive of the AGR, Carl Gilleard, explained: “It is reassuring to see that employers are investing in graduate talent.
“The significant rise in starting salaries to £26,500 will be very good news indeed to students, who are bracing themselves to take on higher levels of debt as tuition fees rise to £9,000 from September this year. While graduate recruitment and development programmes are part of employers’ long-term strategy, the graduate job market is inextricably linked to business confidence.”