As the class of 2016 polish off finals and prepare for graduation, eyes will turn to the prize – that lucrative and hard-earned first foray into the world of work.
And this year's graduates – the second cohort to have paid £9,000 a year in tuition fees – are expecting some rather handsome pay packets to come their way when they sign on the dotted line of a highly-prized grad scheme contract.
Salary expectations among new graduates have surged by 37 per cent over the last five years, according to recruitment website Reed.co.uk, as students increasing feel they should be getting more bang for their buck.
Despite that, graduates – overall – aren't pricing themselves out of the market. The average salary expectation is £28,362, only 1.4 per cent higher than the actual starting salary of £27,966. Students are, very nearly at least, on the money when it comes to guessing their first wage.
|Class of 2012||Class of 2016|
|Difference||23 per cent||Minus 1.4 per cent|
Back in the early days of the recovery graduates were actually undervaluing themselves, with the class of 2012 expecting to scoop a job paying just £20,664 after university, nearly one-fifth down on the actual starting salaries offered to them of £25,357.
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Surprisingly, graduates in the capital don't strike it lucky when it comes to top spot on the salary league table – falling behind Liverpool and Reading. London does, however, have the most positions available for graduates.
|City||Graduate starting salary|
However, some graduates are in for a big shock when they get their first job offer. New starters in IT think they'll be walking into a £37,000 a year job – 16 per cent above the actual average starting salaries.
|Industry||Salary expected||Salary offered||Difference|
|Accountancy||£34,567||£50,466||46 per cent|
|Construction and property||£29,850||£40,963||37 per cent|
|Consulting||£31,321||£33,858||Eight per cent|
|Automotive||£47,842||£32,034||Minus 31 per cent|
|IT and telecoms||£37,151||£31,360||Minus 16 per cent|
|Financial services||£26,045||£30,365||17 per cent|
Accountants are in for the biggest balance sheet boost. They think they'll be earning £34,567, but actually secure roles paying in excess of £50,000.