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Graduates in the regions should expect a starting salary of between 15,000 and 18,000 according to new research from the UKs leading graduate recruiters.
The Graduate Employer Survey 2011 has revealed that over 80% of employers in the regions pitch starting salaries for university leavers at this level, compared with a UK average of 25,000 which includes London.
The inaugural survey of national employers, carried out by the Graduate Network, and led by Graduates Yorkshire and West Midlands based Graduate Advantage, set out to establish realistic salary benchmarks and industry trends in the regional graduate recruitment market. Previous research had focused on graduate recruitment in London which failed to truly reflect the market outside of the capital.
The survey found that nearly two thirds of the regional employers polled have recruited a graduate over the last 12 months, with over 60% of graduates being offered permanent positions and 20% paid internships. A slightly smaller number are expecting to recruit a graduate over the next 12 months in permanent roles and both paid and unpaid internships.
Interestingly, a tiny percentage, (just 1.5% of those polled), believe that the graduates degree result is the most important factor when recruiting at graduate level. Instead, three quarters believe that a positive attitude and employability skills are the most important attributes.
Martin Edmondson, chief executive of Graduates Yorkshire, comments on the findings: This survey was carried out for the benefit of employers and graduates to give them a realistic view of the market and salary expectations. If you go by some of the previous research carried out, graduates will be leaving university and expecting to walk into jobs with a salary of 25,000 or more. Whilst this is not the case in all areas of the UK, the opportunities for graduates are on the increase as employers recognise the business benefits of recruiting university leavers who can introduce new ideas and increase productivity.
I am not surprised at the disparity between the average graduate salaries revealed in the regions compared to other research findings. The Graduate Employer Survey focused on SMEs across a number of different industries in the regions, and explored businesses perceptions of graduates and graduate opportunities outside London, where the job market, cost of living and overall quality of life differs quite significantly.
Graduate internships schemes, including those operated by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England), Regional Development Agencies and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, have been drawing to a close over the last couple of months and graduates have not been offered further support from the Government at this stage.
Businesses and higher education experts will be joining in the debate about the future of graduate employment and internships at the fourth annual Graduate Employment Conference in Leeds today (Thursday 19 May). The results will be analysed in more detail to identify what it means for universities, graduates and businesses.
Graduates Yorkshire and The Graduate Network, the UKs graduate employment provider, have come together to host the event to explore businesses perceptions of graduates and graduate opportunities outside London. Delegates will also examine new trends in using social media for recruitment, job hunting and careers advice.
Nicola Turner, acting director of employability at Graduate Advantage, said: With a lack of support from the Government for graduates leaving university and the unemployment rate amongst young people reaching its highest rate since the 1990s, competition in the jobs market is fierce. Our job is to identify the future trends in the graduate job market and help to stimulate opportunities for both employers and graduates.
The results of this survey will help us to identify the trends in graduate recruitment in the regions which will help us to predict the key issues facing graduates in the job market over the next 12 months and put real measures in place to address these challenges.
For more information about The Graduate Employer Survey 2011, visit


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