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UK graduate jobs fall but those who get one are getting paid more

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2-min read
Five candidates waiting for job interviews, front view, crop
Applications per listing have increased 47% for graduate jobs. Photo: Getty

Graduates are competing for fewer jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, but those who land one are likely to benefit from an increased salary.

Graduate job advertisements were down 60% annually from 1 January to 30 July, with some sectors, such as marketing, construction and recruitment, taking bigger hits yet, data from job board CV-Library shows.

As a result of this, graduates seem to be giving up their job hunt, with searches also down 8% for the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2019.

But despite applications dropping overall, applications per listing have increased 47%, while many jobs received thousands of applications in July — showing competition is rife.

READ MORE: Gig economy adviser 'regrets' delays improving UK workers' rights

And they’re competing for higher pay too, as the average graduate salary has increased 7% year-on-year to now sit at £24,626 per annum.

Meanwhile, some industries even pay above-average wages for graduate positions. These include the public sector (£34,000), retail (£33,550), property (£30,235), catering (£27,500), IT (£27,290), accounting and finance (£27,074), media (£26,958), legal (£26,738), design (£26,266) and sales (£26,002).

It’s a difficult time for everyone, not least the newest entrants to the job market, whose career prospects have been shattered by COVID-19,” said CV-Library founder and CEO Lee Biggins.

“Unfortunately, job numbers are down across the board and it’s going to take a very long time until they return to normal levels.

READ MORE: WH Smith could axe 1,500 jobs with sales down 57%

“Graduates will be under a lot of pressure to impress employers throughout the recruitment process.”

The research found London boasts the highest graduate salaries, at an average of £27,259. It is followed by Newcastle (£27,250), Southampton (£26,677), Edinburgh (£24,857) and Manchester (£24,740).

While increased salaries are a “promising sign,” it’s not a trend that is likely to continue, CV-Library said.

“Unfortunately, the purse strings are tightening for many organisations, and while it’s not unusual for salaries to fluctuate depending on the sector or location you work in, it’s not sustainable given the current economic situation,” Biggins explained.