Prospects are looking good for the new batch of graduates hoping to join the workforce as eight out of ten employers (79%) will be taking on new recruits in 2017/2018


A study by XpertHR shows that nearly half (49%) of UK organisations are aiming to recruit the same number of graduates they did last year, a further 44.2% aim to recruit more than the previous year and only 6.8% are planning to reduce the number of graduate recruits.

The study also revealed that starting salaries have been frozen for the last nine years, with data from previous surveys revealing that there has been no change since 2008/2009.

While there has been no change in starting pay, the overall range of salaries is varied, running from £15,000 at the lower end and reaching £48,000 at the higher end. The median starting salary is £24,000 with the interquartile range running from £20,000 to £26,000.

It will come as no surprise that large organisations and private sector organisations have the best starting pay rates.

The survey found that median starting salaries by organisation size were diverse:

  • £22,000 at organistions with fewer than 250 employees
  • £23,000 at companies with 250 to 999 employees; and
  • £25,000 for larger organisations with 1,000 employees or more

Although companies have enthusiasm to recruit recent graduates, many employers are still critical about the calibre of applicants with more than two-fifths (44.2%) complaining about the poor quality of knowledge, skills and experience that graduates currently have. One respondent commented: “Despite the high volume of graduates, the level of genuine talent is low.”

Larger companies with 1,000 or more employees, are the most likely to hold back on new recruits with 12.1% aiming to take fewer graduates than last year due to the quality of graduates.

Not all respondents felt so negatively about what graduates can provide as one respondent remarked: 'Graduates provide a higher, more consistent return to a business both short term and long term. Their application is great - conscientious and professional with a desire to learn more, so why would we not want to hire more?'

It is clear that future job prospects for recent graduates are high, however starting pay may not be what they envisioned. XpertHR, managing editor, Sheila Attwood adds:

“There is good news for recent graduates in our survey. Employers are generally keen to take them on and recognise the value that they have to offer. But the evidence does show that pay has not kept pace with rising prices over recent years, and in common with other employees, they will feel the squeeze. It is also interesting to note that employers who report the greatest difficulties recruiting typically also pay below the median. In contrast, the median graduate starting salary on offer from the minority of employers that say they have not experienced any issues with graduate recruitment is in line with the survey median of £24,000.”