Starting salaries for top British graduates frozen

Vacancies fall by 5.4%, the biggest drop in six years

Starting salaries for top graduates will be frozen for the first time in living memory this year, according to a report published today.

The survey, by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), also predicts the number of job vacancies will fall by 5.4 per cent – the biggest drop for six years. Figures show graduates starting jobs this September are likely to earn an average of £25,000 a year, exactly the same starting figure as last autumn.

Recruitment experts say this will be a bitter blow to the class of 2009, which is the first to graduate with debts as a result of the introduction of £3,000 a year top-up fees.

Some employers, notably banks and financial services, are cutting salaries by up to 8 per cent. Banks predictably estimate the biggest cut in vacancies – around 28 per cent on last year.

But there are encouraging signs – vacancies in engineering and in the public services have risen. This year's drop in vacancies follows a drastic revision of the prediction for 2008 that graduate job vacancies would rise by 11 per cent. The rise was only 0.6 per cent.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "Though we are set to see a drop in vacancies this year, the situation is certainly not as severe as it could be. We saw a sharper decrease in 2003, for example, when recruiters had a negative reaction to the dot.com crash.

"By and large, while no one doubts the seriousness of the current economic downturn, the picture for graduate recruitment, though worrying, could be bleaker. There are even some silver linings with growth predicted in the engineering and public sectors – both of which are likely to appeal to graduates seeking job security this year."

The Higher Education minister David Lammy said: "There are still jobs out there for graduates and going to university is still and always will be a good investment in your future career."

Today's report is based on the responses of 245 of the country's leading graduate recruiters – who employ between them 21,144 graduates.

* Britain's top independent schools today report a rise in applications for this September – contradicting expectations that numbers would fall as a result of the recession.

Figures published by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Association – which represents 250 traditional former boys-only private schools such as Eton and Winchester – show a 1.7 per cent rise in the number of 11-year-olds put in for their entrance exams this year. Demand for admission places at age 13 is also up – by 7.5 per cent – and there has been an 8.2 per cent rise in applications to independent school sixth-forms.

The schools attribute the rise to a lack of trust in the Government to run schools. Other commentators suggested parents were putting their children in for entrance tests as they felt their chances of getting accepted were higher.

Bernard Trafford, chairman of HMC and head of Newcastle Royal Grammar School said: "Parents hear that all state schools are to be refurbished and then they hear that this may not happen. They want something that's tried and trusted – and that's what the independent sector offers to them."

£25k

Average graduate starting salary.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Health & Safety Support Tutor

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in the devel...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests