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Starting salaries for graduate jobs ‘fall 11% over five years’

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Starting salaries for graduate jobs have fallen over the past five years, according to new research.
Starting salaries for graduate jobs ‘fall 11% over five years’

Analysis for found salaries for graduates in professional employment dropped by 11 per cent to £21,702 in real terms between 2007 and 2012.

The research shows that the decline is continuing and perhaps increasing.

Between 2005-2010, graduate-type starting salaries declined by 4 per cent, after adjustment for inflation, the guide said.

Only two subject areas – materials technology and librarianship & information management – showed an increase in starting salaries, of 13 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Even medicine and dentistry – which had the highest starting salaries in 2007 – experienced reductions of 15 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

Just as important for graduates as the starting salary is the graduate premium – the difference between starting salaries in graduate-type and other employment.

Building showed the greatest increase in the gap between graduates entering professional-type jobs and those in non-graduate employment. A building graduate taking up a graduate-type job in 2007 would have had a £4,045 advantage over a fellow student entering non-graduate work, when adjusted for inflation. By 2012, the differential has increased to £7,174, a rise of 77 per cent.

The average for all subjects where there were sufficient numbers to be analysed remained level, showing a 0 per cent change from 2007-2012. The differential, after adjustment for inflation, actually fell marginally from £6,732 to £6,717.

Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author of, said: “These figures show a continuing decline in the graduate premium across many subjects, and must be a concern to students when choosing what to study at university when tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year in England and Wales.

“It is helpful for young people considering which subject to choose to see how the earning potential for the occupations for which they may qualify changes over a short time. While financial returns should not be the only consideration, they are becoming more important, whether we like it or not. However, with a volatile labour market, it is difficult to predict the future for any particular subject.”


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