Graduate Pay Sees Big Rise As Firms Compete For Young Employees | TOTUM
Ben Hayward November 11th

UK firms are reporting a step up in salaries for young people, as competition for jobs increases, new research has suggested.

According to the study by the Institute of Student of Employers (ISE), the typical pay for graduates rose to £30,500 in 2021 - a rise of £833, while school leavers saw an increase of £1,039.

ISE boss, Stephen Isherwood, said that while ‘employers are looking for ways to compete for talent in a tough market’, the number of applicants per job has also reached a record high.


According to the research, companies reported an average of 91 applications per graduate vacancy, representing a 17% increase on the previous year and the highest number since the ISE began collecting data in 1999.

It is thought that this is mostly down to the 2021 cohort of graduates competing for jobs with last year's cohort, who graduated in the year the pandemic began.

However, the 177 respondents tot he survey, each of whom represent large employers of students and young people, did suggest that the jobs market had not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Speaking to the BBC, Chaeyld Casimir-Thomas a graduate with a First Class degree in law, said she has struggled to get work in the legal industry and is currently employed by a recruitment agency.


“Within the last two months I have applied for about a hundred jobs, both within and outside of the [legal profession],” Chaeyld said. “It hasn't met my expectations of what I thought graduate life would be like.”

Chaeyld said she thought that her qualification - especially as she attained a First - would provide her with a range of opportunities, but that things had ‘been difficult for me, and a couple of friends who I know who have graduated as well’. “I am hopeful for the future,” she adds.

Mr Isherwood pointed out that after the financial crisis in 2008, graduate salaries had stagnated for a couple of years, and that the current increase in salaries suggests that costs for businesses have gone up.


“Market forces will determine how sustainable this is. If the economic recovery continues at pace then the market for young people will become increasingly competitive and employers will need to invest more to recruit the talent they need," he added.

The most popular roles identified in the study were in retail and tourism, which received 182 applications per vacancy, while competition for jobs in the health and pharmaceutical industry was also high with 155 people applying for each job. 

The employers who took part predicted that growth across all different sectors would carry on into 2022, and that graduate jobs and internships would exceed pre-pandemic levels over the next year.

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