Graduate employment and salaries in 2021

What do students do after graduating and what are their salaries?

By Bsyn Support

Report 14 Dec 2021

After graduating, there are many different paths that graduates can take. As a result, the salaries of a graduate can vary depending on the industry, type of work, gender, location and many other factors. We’ve written this article so that you can gain a rough idea of what to expect after graduation!

Types of graduate employment

Graduates have lots of different types of employment to pursue, whether it be the traditional full-time job, part-time job, internship or voluntary work.

According to HESA’s Graduate Outcomes data, 57% of graduates found full-time employment, whilst 12% were in part-time employment. 1% of graduates did volunteer or unpaid work. Roughly 19% of graduates pursued further study, part-time, full-time and alongside employment. The rest of 11% were unemployed or doing other activities such as caring for some or travelling.

Amongst graduates, 66% worked high-skilled jobs whilst 20% worked medium/low-skilled jobs.

Graduate Employment Data

(Remember to not feel disheartened if you are a graduate and are not where you want to be right now in terms of your career progression. Covid-19 has derailed many graduate plans, from graduate jobs being pulled, a decrease in internships and placements with further falls expected next year. As a result, competition for these vacancies has dramatically increased.)

Average Graduate Salaries

A number of different surveys report different average salaries. For example, HESA’s Graduate Outcomes reported that the majority of graduates were paid between £24,000 and £26,999. GOV.UK’s Graduate Labour Market reported that the median salary for graduates was £35,000 which was £9,500 more than the median salary for non-graduates.

Graduate Salaries
Graduate Salaries

Reasons for the differences likely depend on the way in which the data is collected, as HESA recorded the number of graduates in each salary bracket, whilst GOV.UK reported results as a median. Differences also depend on the different industries, jobs and other factors.

Some other key statistics to consider, show differences in salary depending on the sex, age and disability of the graduate. 

Unfortunately, the gender pay gap still appears to be an existing and complex issue. According to the Equality Act 2010, if both men and women are performing equal work it is illegal to pay them differently. However, the reason why women are on average earning less than men is that there are often fewer senior positions for women or they are working in industries that generally pay less. GOV.UK reported that the median salary for males is around £8,500 more than the median salary for females.

The differences in location

As to be expected a majority of graduate vacancies are found in London. According to the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), London makes up 45% of graduate vacancies in 2020, likely due to the big business, tech and finance companies that hire graduates through their graduate schemes. With rent in London being much higher and companies being larger, this is reflected in the higher salaries that are offered by these graduate roles. However, roles outside are London are increasing due to the rise of remote working and COVID.

Graduate employment and salaries in 2021 1

Which industry pays the most?

Depending on the survey, the industry which pays the most can differ. However those paying the top bucks are generally the same. Most common high salary industries are Finance, Energy, Medicine and Legal jobs.

HESA’s Graduate Outcomes reported that Finance Professionals in graduate roles earned an average salary of £37,000, followed by Medical Practitioners at £36,000 and Managers at £34,000.

Information in this article is taken from survey data from:

  • HESA Graduate Outcomes
  • GOV.UK Graduate Labour Market
  • Institute of Student Employers (ISE)

To get tips and tricks on how to land that graduate job, head to our resources page and search up the industry you are interested in or try out our CV checker!


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