22 February 2023

Average Graduate Salaries: The Definitive Guide

Have you recently completed your university degree and want to know the average graduate salary for your desired job? Or perhaps you’re not yet sure which career path is for you and want to consider your options?

Either way, we’ve got you covered with our definitive guide to average graduate salaries in 2023.

So, what is the average starting salary for graduates in the UK? At surface level, this seems like a relatively straightforward question. However, the answer is much more complicated than you might initially think.

Read on to find the answers to all of your burning questions, including:

  • What is the average salary for graduates?
  • What are the best paying jobs for graduates?
  • What is the average graduate salary for my degree?
  • What skills are high-paying employers looking for?
  • Can I negotiate my salary?
  • How lucrative are roles with Timberseed?

Some job interviewers like to ask their candidates what their salary expectations are before they actually disclose how much they’re willing to pay. In other words, they’re asking: how much do you think you’re worth? In this situation, knowing what the average graduate salary is for your industry is crucial so that you don’t sell yourself short, or swing far beyond what’s reasonable.

If you’re ready to start your career journey, send your CV to Timberseed and we will match you with some of the best businesses and industry leaders.

What is the average graduate salary?

Average starting salaries for graduates in the UK vary due to a number of factors. The most major ones:

  • Salary by region
  • Salary by industry

How does the average graduate salary vary by region?

It’ll likely come as no surprise, but where you choose to kickstart your career will impact the salary you’re offered. Each region will differ in terms of the range of job types available – not to mention the amount that employers are willing to pay you should you choose to take on a grad scheme (or other career opportunity) there.

HESA’s (Higher Education Statistics Agency) latest Graduate Outcomes data shows that London is the region with the highest average starting salary (roughly £27,215). This is as expected when we consider that the cost of living is much higher in London than in any other region of the UK.

The current pay gap between London and Wales (the region with the lowest average starting salary – roughly £23,534) is just under £4,000 a year.

However, this does not necessarily mean that graduates working in London are better off than those working in regions that have a lower average graduate salary.

You should consider the cost of living to salary ratio if you’re thinking about choosing a job based on region. House prices, too, differ by area and will largely impact how far your salary will stretch…

For example, a graduate working on an average salary in Westminster would have to work more than three times as long as someone on an average salary in Liverpool in order to buy a house – this is despite the graduate in Westminster earning more money.

If you want to relocate to London because the region offers the most opportunities in your chosen sector, then we say go for it! Just make sure you aren’t letting that high average salary figure get to your head without considering all the other cost of living factors first.

How does the average graduate salary vary by industry?

According to HESA’s most recent Graduate Outcomes report, the average graduate salary across all sectors in 2023 is just under £25,000 per year.

However, this figure can vary drastically from industry to industry, with some graduates reporting starting salaries of up to £90,000 – tech and investment banking being examples of industries with high entry-level earnings for graduates.

As you’d probably expect, graduates working in more creative professions such as Journalism and the Arts can usually expect a lower starting salary, while graduates working in areas like Banking or Computer Science are most likely to be earning this top end figure.

For big businesses and graduate schemes, the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) places the average graduate starting salary in the UK at around £30,000.

Bear in mind that the average figure is just that… an average! You could end up earning significantly higher or lower than the national average depending on a whole range of factors, such as skill level, degree level, or (as we’ve already covered) region.

What is the current average graduate salary by sector?

This definitive list of average graduate salaries uses actual salary data collected over the past 10 years to provide realistic insights into how much a graduate can expect to earn in their first job, based on sector.

As we’ve already covered, your starting salary could be more or less than the current average for your sector depending on your location, but these stats will hopefully give you a general idea of what to expect.

SectorAverage Salary
Advertising & PR£24,683
Architecture & Construction£24,600
Art & Design£24,357
Buying & Merchandising£27,952
Computing & IT£28,405
Customer Service£25,934
Distribution & Logistics£26,606
Education & Teaching£21,648
Energy & Utilities£26,538
Food & Catering£25,862
Human Resources£25,237
Internet & Digital Media£30,410
Legal & Law£26,844
Manufacturing & Production£26,352
Military & Defence£28,091
Public Sector£24,302
Research & Analysis£28,076
Science & Technology£28,601
Secretarial & Business Admin£23,842
Sports & Recreation£21,800
Travel & Hospitality£21,089

What is the average graduate salary for my degree?

The average graduate salary can vary drastically from sector to sector, but the degree you have can help you get a clearer understanding of roughly how much you might expect to earn in your first job.

We’ve only covered some of the highest-paying degrees, but a full list of average graduate salaries by degree can be found here.

Let’s take a look at how much you could be earning at entry level depending on your degree.

Banking and Accountancy

Graduates pursuing careers as chartered accountants can expect a starting salary of up to £40,000. However, graduate salaries for this role can vary massively, with earnings anywhere between £17,000 and £50,000 being reported.

Those who work in investment banking can expect to earn between £25,000 and £50,000 in an entry-level position. This figure can rise very quickly, with many investment bankers earning over £100,000 a year (plus bonuses!).

Business, Marketing and Management

Graduates with degrees in business and management have countless options when it comes to choosing a career. These degrees can open doors to lucrative careers in accountancy or investment banking, or provide opportunities in sectors such as marketing, media, and human resources (HR).

A career in retail management will usually see you start on a salary between £17,000 and £23,000, but there are graduate training schemes that will pay much more than this for impressive candidates.

Digital marketers can expect a starting salary within the range of £18,000 – £22,000, with this figure rising rapidly as you gain more experience. Similarly, the graduate salary for an HR adviser will likely be in the range of £18,000 – £23,000 and tends to increase substantially with experience.

Interested in a lucrative marketing or recruitment role? Look no further than Timberseed. Send us your CV and we’ll match you with the perfect role at one of the UK’s top companies.

Computer Science

Computer science is a great pathway to access countless IT-based careers, from programming and systems analysis to web design and game design. The graduate salaries for this type of work vary massively because of how different the roles can be, but you’d probably be looking at around £25,000 as a starting figure.

The amount you earn will depend on what you choose to specialise in, but careers in tech can be particularly lucrative. Graduates have reported starting salaries of anything from £17,000 – £70,000, with the highest figure being earned by those working at the UK’s top tech firms.

Looking for a role in tech? Timberseed specialises in matching graduates with opportunities at some of the UK’s leading tech companies. Check what roles are currently available, or send us your CV so we can let you know when the perfect opportunity for you comes up.


The average salary for an engineering graduate can vary depending on specialism, but you’d roughly be looking at £27,500 per year.

A chemical engineering graduate could expect to earn an average starting salary of £30,000, while civil engineers usually earn closer to £27,700 in their first job.


The general assumption is that entry level roles for law graduates are incredibly lucrative. However, in reality, starting salaries in this sector vary massively.

Trainee solicitors can expect to earn around £21,000, but some graduates have reported starting salaries of up to £50,000. This is dependent on a number of factors, ranging from the size of the company to the region you’re based in.

Similarly, the Bar Standards Board dictates that pupil barristers must be paid at least £17,152 during their 12-month pupillage, but some companies will pay as much as £50,000.


Graduates with mathematics degrees have numerous career options to choose from, and these can include anything from data analysis to market research positions. Mathematics graduates are highly employable because companies across all sectors and of all sizes will always need someone to crunch numbers.

The average graduate salary for mathematicians is £28,000, but as you gain more experience you can easily be earning £50,000 or more in a single year depending on how specialised your role is.

What skills are high-paying graduate employers looking for?

To access the top graduate salary within your sector, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have the right skills that the company is looking for.

The skills that are required will depend on the nature of the role itself, especially if the role is highly specialised. However, there are some general soft skills that most, if not all, employers will be looking for when hiring graduates. These include:

  • Communication skills
  • Organisation skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Time-management skills
  • Interpersonal skills

To access the highest graduate salaries, you will need to demonstrate all of the above skills at an excellent level in your CV. Chances are you’ll have used all of these skills almost every day throughout your time at uni, so even if this is your first job application and you’re worried about your lack of experience, don’t stress – you’re more prepared than you might think.

How do I make myself stand out from the competition?

It’s not enough to simply list your skills on your CV. At the end of the day, anyone could claim to have these skills, but only the most impressive graduates will actually show that they have them.

Rather than just listing your skills, elaborate by including the experience you have that helped you to acquire or develop each skill. For example, you could say ‘worked collaboratively with a group of classmates to deliver a presentation on…’ to illustrate an instance when you demonstrated excellent teamwork skills.

The most lucrative jobs often also require additional skills, such as:

  • People skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Specialist skills (e.g. knowledge of a specific program, coding, video editing, etc.)

Above all, though, employers will be looking at your enthusiasm for the business and a passion for the role you’re applying for. This not only means that you come across well in your CV, but that you apply best practices for interviewers when the time comes.

An effective and attractive CV can be very appealing to employers, but you need to actively make yourself stand out from the competition if you want to access that top graduate salary. If you need any help with perfecting your CV, the team at Timberseed are standing by ready to offer their expert assistance.

Can I negotiate my salary?

The short answer to this question is yes, but make sure you’ve thoroughly researched your sector first to ensure your expectations are realistic and avoid coming across as unprofessional.

Many graduates heading into the job market for the first time assume that you have to accept the salary you’re initially offered because you have less experience, but this is not the case at all. If your salary is significantly lower than the average for your sector, you are well within your right to negotiate.

However, this is where knowing the average graduate salary for your industry is crucial. If the salary you ask for is much higher than the average, you could come across as ill-prepared and unreasonable to the employer. Thorough research is key!

Be sure to factor in the location, as well as any perks and bonuses that the company offers. Sometimes, it might be worth accepting a slightly lower salary in order to receive the additional benefits the company can provide that other companies might not.

Similarly, don’t forget that graduate salaries often increase rapidly during the first few years of your career. Your salary is likely to increase after your probation period, or when you start to make valuable contributions to the business.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when negotiating salary is that employers are seeking value for money. In other words, you need to actively demonstrate what value you will bring to their company in order for them to consider your negotiation. Why are you worth that extra money? What makes you better for the job than any of the other candidates?

If you need help answering these difficult questions, get in touch with the Timberseed team and our recruitment experts will be more than happy to help you pick out your best skills and get them down on paper.

When is the best time to negotiate salary?

If you think the salary you’ve been offered is unfair based on the market average, it’s important to begin negotiations before signing your contract.

Your contract is at its most flexible at this point. Plus, you have the added advantage of knowing that the company already wants you for the job, so they’ll probably be more willing to enter into negotiations if it means you’re more likely to accept (provided your expectations are reasonable and backed up with research, of course).

How lucrative are graduate roles with Timberseed?

At Timberseed, we know how fiercely competitive the graduate job market can be, which is why we’re committed to finding top-tier roles for talented graduates with some of the UK’s most successful businesses. Send us your CV and we’ll even do most of the hard work for you, matching you with the roles that are best suited to your skill set and interests.

The graduate job opportunities we provide are certainly lucrative, with many positions offering starting salaries of £35,000 plus extra for on-target earnings. You can trust Timberseed to find you some of the best roles for graduates in the UK and provide you with all the help you need to kickstart a successful career.

Timberseed are partnered with some of the UK’s leading companies where graduate talent is actively nurtured and encouraged to shine. As such, you’ll find that the jobs we advertise are exclusive, with incredible opportunities for your career to grow and progress.



What factors beyond industry and region influence the average graduate salary in the UK?

Several factors, including job demand, competition, economic trends, and specific skills or qualifications, can influence the average graduate salary in the UK beyond industry and region.

Are there specific skills or qualifications that significantly impact graduate salary levels within industries?

Yes, certain skills or qualifications, such as technical expertise in high-demand fields like technology or finance, can significantly impact graduate salary levels within industries. Employers often value candidates with specialized skills and may offer higher salaries to those who possess them.

How do factors like job demand, competition, and economic trends affect graduate salary expectations and negotiations?

Factors like job demand, competition among candidates, and economic conditions can affect graduate salary expectations and negotiations. Understanding market trends and the value of your skills can help you navigate negotiations effectively and secure a salary that reflects your worth.


Earn the highest graduate salaries with Timberseed

Timberseed is committed to seeing you thrive in a rewarding role that you’ll love. Each of our roles offers a fantastic work culture and career progression opportunities, so the high graduate salaries are really just the tip of the iceberg!

Our dedicated team is ready and waiting to introduce you to the vast range of graduate job opportunities that are out there. Our goal is to empower graduates to make their own career choices and feel confident in their ability to succeed.

Ready to get your foot on the career ladder? Career seekers, send us your CV today. Our team will review your qualifications and start matching you with some of the highest paying roles for graduates across the UK.