Graduating from university can be a thrilling and proud moment, but it can also bring with it a sense of uncertainty about the future. One area that many graduates may be concerned about is their future salary. After all, starting a new career as a graduate can be expensive, and it’s natural to want to know what kind of salary you can expect to earn.
What are employers willing to offer graduates?
According to the ISE Student Recruitment Trends, the median starting salary for graduates in 2021/22 was reported at £30,921. While this may sound like a good salary for a graduate just starting out in their career, there may be a disconnect between this figure and the reality of what many graduates can expect to earn.
For one thing, it’s worth noting that The ISE membership is made up of larger employers offering very structured graduate schemes. This includes law firms, consultancies, large accountancy practices and Engineering companies which offer much higher salaries which explains the higher average salary figure over £30k. However our own research, found that only 6.3% of employers surveyed (Mainly SME’s) expected to pay their graduates over £30,000.
It’s also important to consider the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) make up a significant portion of the job market. In 2022, SMEs accounted for 61% of total employment. This means that many people may start their careers at smaller organisations, which may not be able to offer the same level of salary as larger companies.
While the financial value of working at a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) may not be as high as a larger company, there are still many benefits to starting your career at an SME. One of the biggest advantages is the opportunity to take on greater responsibility early on in your career. While this may be intimidating for some graduates, it can also be a valuable learning opportunity. Working at an SME can give you the chance to experience a wide range of tasks and departments, which can be especially useful for those who are still figuring out their career path. You may even find that you enjoy a specific department more than your initial degree subject. Overall, starting your career at an SME can provide a wealth of practical experience and help you discover your true passions and strengths.
Given all of this, it’s not surprising that there may be a disconnect between the salary expectations of many graduates and the reality of what they can expect to earn. While the median starting salary of £30,921 may be a good benchmark, it’s important for graduates to keep in mind that this figure may not be representative of the entire job market. It’s a good idea for graduates to research salary expectations for the type and size of employer they are applying to, as well as the location and industry in which they are seeking employment. This can help them set realistic salary expectations and make informed decisions about their career path.