How much should you be paid as a graduate?

It is no secret that many graduates are not paid enough once they start work. But how much exactly should you be paid as a graduate? Here are a few pointers which may be useful to consider when looking for graduate employment. That way, when you look at our list of top jobs, you’ll be able to apply with knowledge of whats really on offer.

Graduate Schemes

According to TotalJobs, the average graduate working on a set grad scheme is paid an average salary of £26,000 per annum, though certain organisations have reported different numbers around this figure, either slightly higher or slightly lower. Whatever the exact average may be, certain popular grad schemes have noticeably lower rates of yearly pay. Remember to research the company you are looking to work for, and the history of that graduate scheme. Graduate scheme salaries change depending on economic factors, as well as demand for work in that field. Some of the companies with the highest-paying grad schemes in the UK include:

  • Aldi (retail)
  • RBS (banking)
  • Barclays (banking)

Graduate Internships

It must be stressed again that, due to the huge variation in internship types, saying exactly how much you should be paid for an internship as a graduate is a challenge. According to Indeed, the average salary for an intern is around £20,709 annually, but it all depends on what company you are employed by and the field of work. More caution must be taken if an internship is detailed as unpaid. It may provide some useful experience and reference material, however, at the end of the day, be careful that the company is not taking advantage of you for free labour. For this reason, unpaid internships are, more often than not, to be avoided.

It can be beneficial to search for internship opportunities with your university, because UK universities often offer graduate internships in different departments for very good rates of pay.

Work by field

It is difficult to generalise pay for entry-level graduate positions, but, unsurprisingly, the more experience you have, the better. Your pay will also most likely increase over time once you become more versed with the work your employment involves. According to Statista, the industries and sectors with the highest average rates of graduate pay are as follows:

  • Investment banking (50,000)
  • Consulting (45,800)
  • Law (45,000)
  • Oil and energy (38,500)
  • Retail (33,000)

Remember: when starting in a new position, research thoroughly. Check your starting salary, and if the yearly salary seems unusually low – i.e., if it is 18,000 or lower – find out what the industry standard usually is for that specific starting position. The company may be offering an unfair yearly wage, and this can potentially be negotiated with care. Your wage may also increase faster than you expect depending on performance after a trial period.

At the end of the day, your enjoyment of the work you end up doing should definitely be factored into your decisions. High job satisfaction would improve your work ethic, and, ultimately, lead to better pay to match your dedication.

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