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
News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Guru Careers: Product Training Specialist / Software Trainer

£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence