Average graduate salaries in the UK 2022

Average graduate salaries in the UK 2022

Average graduate salaries in the UK 2022

When it comes to choosing your degree, should you follow your heart or the dollar signs? Our guide to average graduate starting salaries can help you make the call…

There are many factors that affect how big your graduate starting salary will be, but the four biggies are the employer, the industry, the location, and job market competition.

If you’re a recent graduate looking for work, employers increasingly want to know how much you think you’re worth. This guide will give you the ballpark figures for degree subjects so you don’t sell yourself short.

Average graduate salaries in each industry

These are the typical starting salaries for UK graduates** based on the industries they choose to work in:

Art (Creative, Visual, and Performance)

As you probably already know if you’re interested in the field, the graduate job market for art students isn’t the most flush with cash.

For those wanting to get into Creative Arts (design, music, and performing or visual arts), salaries vary vastly – although which industry you work in could make a considerable difference.

A typical starting salary for a curatorial position (e.g. Assistant Curator) is usually between £18,000 – £25,000, but there’s the potential to earn upwards of £40,000 later in your career if and when you progress to a more senior position.

Going for a career in the digital arts has the potential to offer you a higher salary. With everything shifting online, graphic and digital designers are pretty high in demand these days.

This means that, although a graduate salary could start between £15,000 – £19,000, it can rise to £27,000 once you’ve got a bit of experience. Later on in your career, you could expect to earn between £35,000 – £55,000, or even £60,000 a year depending on your role.

Banking and Accountancy

Salaries for Accountancy vary considerably depending on location, size of the company, and specialization.

Graduates becoming Chartered Accountants can expect a starting salary of up to £40,000 (although graduates have reported earning anything between £17,000 and £50,000 in their first job).

Those who enter Banking (unsurprisingly) get the big bucks, with the average graduate salary in Operational Investment Banking often sitting in the £25,000 – £50,000 range. This can quickly rise, too, with many Operational Investment Bankers earning well over £100,000 a year plus bonuses.

Business, Marketing, and Management

Business and Management degrees can open up doors to some seriously well-paid careers in Accountancy or Investment Banking. You’ve also got options in Marketing, Media, Human Resources (HR), and Retail Management.

A starting salary in Retail Management will likely be in the range of £17,000 – £23,000, but some graduate training schemes pay handsomely for impressive candidates.

Budget supermarket chain Aldi is a go-to for its Area Manager grad scheme, which pays £44,000 in the first year. If that doesn’t quite do it for you, they’ll throw in a car, too – a BMW 3 series, so be precise.

A career in HR will see you start on something between £18,000 – £23,000 (rising rapidly with more experience and qualifications), while Digital Marketers can expect a starting salary between £18,000 – £22,000, again increasing substantially with experience.

Computer Science

Your career path will depend on what you specialize in, but IT industries are on the up, and they offer heaps of choice: programming, front- and back-end development, systems analysis, web design, UX design, online security, games, and apps – the list really is endless.

Starting salaries vary a lot for this type of work as the roles are so varied, but typically they’ll be around £25,000. It’s worth mentioning that despite this average, graduates have reported receiving anything from £17,000 – £70,000 in IT roles.


While the Graduate Recruitment Bureau puts the average salary for an Engineering graduate at £27,500, subject specialism can make a difference to your salary.

As we outline below, graduates of Chemical Engineering earn an average of £30,000 in their first job, while Civil Engineers nab an average starting salary of £27,700.


Humanities degrees are fairly flexible when it comes to job hunting. On the one hand, you may not be sure quite what you’re going to do when you graduate – but on the other, a bank of transferable skills means Media, Marketing, Teaching, and other industries are all yours for the picking.

The average graduate salary in Publishing and Journalism can be anywhere from £15,000 – £26,000, and you’re typically expected to start at the bottom and work your way through the ranks.

Unpaid internships are sadly rife in writing roles (although it’s definitely possible to make money writing), but postgrad or in-house training could help you bag a better starting position. There’s scope to make money freelancing, too, especially in writing and editing – see the National Union of Journalists to get an idea of rates.

The bottom rung in Film and Television work is as a Runner. According to BECTU, the UK’s media union, the recommended pay (if you get any, that is) is £7.93 – £14.15 per hour. Sadly, as competition is so fierce, there’s little chance of your pay increases.


You might think of Law as a quick win for your pay packet, but the reality is that starting salaries vary massively.

The Law Society recommends that Trainee Solicitors be paid at least £19,992 (£22,541 in London), but note that isn’t an enforceable rule. However, depending on the role and the company, you could earn much more in your first job – up to £50,000 in some cases.

As for Pupil Barristers? The Bar Standards Board says that you must be paid at least £16,601 (£18,960 in London) for a full 12-month pupillage in England and Wales, however, some can pay as much as £50,000 or more, depending on who you work for.

Life Sciences

Trainee Clinical Scientists typically start on band 6 of the NHS’ pay scale, which equates to £32,306 a year.

Podiatrists, meanwhile, enter band 5, where the salary for those with less than two years of experience is £25,655.

And remember, in the NHS it’s always possible to go up a pay band as your skills and experience increase.

Medicine and Nursing

If you think Medicine is always the fast track to a fat wallet, you may be in for a shock: starting salaries are often no greater than for Humanities careers. However, you’ll likely be able to earn more money in less time, plus have access to better leave, sick pay, and other job benefits.

The big money comes in when you start specializing but, either way, the further training required can be hard-going and only worth it if you’re prepared to stick with it for the long haul.

Graduates going into Adult Nursing start at band 5 on the NHS pay scale, giving them a starting salary of £25,655.

Junior doctors in their first year of postgrad foundation training earn a minimum of £28,808 (boosted to £33,345 by Foundation Year 2). Once you’ve started training for a specialty, you can earn between £39,467 – £53,077.

Newly qualified Dentists can expect to earn around £32,000 a year, while in Veterinary Medicine the average starting salary ranges from £30,000 – £35,000.

Courtesy / Credit: Save the Student

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