Starting salaries for graduates to decline in real terms this year

Starting salaries for graduates are projected to decline in real terms this year, falling to the lowest levels since 2003, according to research by Incomes Data Services (IDS).

Its report, Pay and progression for graduates 2012, found that the median starting salary for graduates will be £25,000 this year, which is unchanged from 2011. When adjusted to account for inflation, this equates to a 2% pay cut from £19,020 in 2011 to £18,705 in 2012.

The research also found:

  • Nine in 10 employers surveyed said they would be freezing graduate starting salary rates this year.
  • Legal firms are projected to pay graduates the highest starting salaries this year, with pay of £36,000 at the median, which remains unchanged from 2011.
  • The lowest starting salaries in 2011 were paid by the public and not-for-profit sectors, at £22,958.
  • Starting salaries for roles in banking and finance are also projected to remain unchanged this year, at £31,250.
  • Starting salaries in professional services remain at £24,750.

Nasreen Rahman, principal researcher of the report, said: “High rates of price inflation over the last few years have been eating away at the purchasing power of starting salaries for new graduates.

“With many graduates competing for positions, it is clear employers see little need to boost starting salaries.”

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