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Confidence up and salary expectations surge for class of 2016

Bonuses are failing to keep employees happy

New figures from the UK’s largest job site reveal that the class cohort of 2016 expect to earn an annual average salary of £28,362 for their first role post-graduation. That’s £396 (1.4%) more than the average graduate salary on offer, which currently stands at £27,966.

The data shows that the gap between anticipated starting salaries and the actual pay on offer has sharply narrowed over the past five years. Since 2012, graduate salary expectations have risen by more than a third (37%) from £20,664. In contrast advertised salaries have only seen growth of 10% over the same time period.

The research reveals that today’s newly minted graduates feel very positive about entering the jobs market. Almost two thirds of those asked said they feel confident they will be able to secure a job shortly after graduating and 73% believe they will find work within three months of starting their job search.

And there’s reason for graduates to feel more upbeat and confident than recent years; employment opportunities have grown significantly year-on-year, with the number of graduate job vacancies advertised in Q1 2016 up 11% on Q1 2015 (and a massive 83% compared to the same time in 2012).

Commenting on the latest research, Lynn Cahillane, Communications Manager at said: “Today’s graduates have a lot to contend with. With hefty student loans to pay paired with rising living costs, it’s little surprise that they’re looking to earn more now than a few years ago.

“The good news is that the future looks bright for the thousands of graduates entering the job market for the first time, with more job opportunities and more attractive pay packages on offer this year.”

Graduates are willing to go the extra mile to get the job they want; three quarters of those surveyed said they’d be willing to relocate for the right role. London remains the best place for them to head since the capital boasts the highest density of graduate vacancies, closely followed by Manchester and Birmingham. Graduates working in London can also look forward to taking home the highest average salary of £30,002.

Top 10 cities with the most grad positions

  City Avg Salary Offered
1 London £30,002
2 Manchester £26,451
3 Birmingham £26,046
4 Leeds £24,329
5 Bristol £27,102
6 Reading £30,225
7 Nottingham £25,750
8 Cambridge £27,499
9 Liverpool £33,967
10 Slough £28,878

Salary offered by industry breakdown

  Industry Salary offered Salary expected % difference
1 Accountancy £50,466 £34,567 +46%
2 Construction & Property £40,963 £29,850 +37%
3 Purchasing £36,360 £41,176 -12%
4 Strategy & Consultancy £33,858 £31,321 +8%
5 Health & Medicine £33,497 £31,541 +6%
6 Motoring & Automotive £32,934 £47,842 -31%
7 Energy £31,936 £30,218 +6%
8 FMCG £31,767 £31,802 +0.1%
9 IT & Telecoms £31,360 £37,151 -16%
10 Financial Services £30,365 £26,045 +17%