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UK STEM graduates earn nearly 20% more than peers, finds Hay Group

UK graduates entering the job market in 2016 can expect to earn an average of £26,023, according to the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry.


The research revealed science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates can earn nearly 20% more than their peers, while those in customer service could earn almost 30% less. It also highlighted that graduates should consider moving north of the border to Scotland to find well-paid jobs outside of London.


In the Hay Group study, researchers analysed salaries of 42,500 entry-level positions from more than 770 organisations across the United Kingdom. Sampling 25 jobs across multiple industries the survey revealed that the average university graduate can expect to earn £26,023 in their first full-time job. This is not far below the national average for all jobs, which sits at £28,683.


Those entering a role in a STEM career though, such as a role in software development or engineering, are likely to see their pay packets increased by 19% to £30,973 and 17% to £30,370 respectively, making them the highest paid entry roles in the country. This is higher than the salaries than graduate roles in professions, such as law (£25,893) or finance and accounting (£24,624) that have traditionally been considered highly-paid. Graduates who start work in a call centre or in customer service, however, should anticipate a salary that is up to 28% below the national average.


Vivienne Dykstra, global graduate practice leader for Korn Ferry Futurestep, commented, “With the digital sector now making up 10% of the UK’s GDP, we’re seeing a far greater demand for graduates with STEM qualifications.


“This demand is being reflected in the salaries that newly qualified students can command. With digitally savvy talent at a premium, the graduate recruitment market is a competitive place. Employers need to look at ways to differentiate themselves. Alongside providing opportunities to develop and grow, it’s critical businesses offer strong starting salaries to really stand out from the crowd.”


On a global level, the study saw the United Kingdom ranked fifth for its average graduate salary. This was in comparison to Germany which had the highest yearly average salary of £40,272, the United States with £36,255 per annum, Australia with £35,599 per annum and the Netherlands with an average yearly salary of £34,269. 


The data that was analysed also highlighted the locations in the UK where graduates can look to earn the most. London came out on top, with an average salary of £27,845, while candidates in the West Midlands should expect to earn over £3,000 less, with the average pay check in the region amounting to £24,462. In Scotland, graduates can expect to earn over the average (£26,543).


Dykstra added, “It’s unsurprising that graduates in London command the largest salaries.


“However, graduates wanting to earn a higher-than-average amount, but not live in the capital, should consider locations north of the border where the average is £26,543. Either way, with organisations looking to attract the best and brightest talent into their business, graduates entering the job market in 2016 can expect to see salary remuneration as a key differentiator in the job offers they receive.”


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