Most employers willing to pay more than typical apprenticeship wage

Sixty percent of employers would pay between £12,000 and £18,000 starting salary for an apprenticeship-qualified employee

More than nine out of 10 (92%) employers are willing to pay more than the typical apprenticeship wage, provided they are matched with the right candidate, according to research carried out by work-based training and apprenticeships provider Positive Outcomes.

The survey of 100 UK employers found that only 8% would not be prepared to offer more money than the standard apprenticeship wage for the right apprentice.

The research comes after the latest update regarding the new apprenticeship levy, which will be introduced April 2017 for employers in England with a payroll of more than £3 million and charged at 0.5% of their annual pay bill.

The Positive Outcomes study also questioned employers about the wages they were likely to pay should they offer a full-time position to their former apprentices.

A quarter (25%) stated they would pay between £12,000 and £13,999, a further quarter (24%) said they would pay between £14,000 and £15,999, while 11% said they would pay between £16,000 and £17,999. When combined those figures suggest that 60% would pay between £12,000 and £18,000 as a starting salary for an apprenticeship-qualified employee.

As the minimum wage for 18- to 20-year-olds is £5.30 per hour (which equates to around £10,300 per year) the research implies that the vast majority of employers are willing to pay considerably more for an apprenticeship-qualified employee.

Ryan Longmate, joint managing director of Positive Outcomes, explained the upsides of apprenticeships for young people. “The benefits of an apprenticeship are many, but a key element is that they are being paid to learn, rather than paying to learn,” he said. “Even if an employer doesn’t wish to pay more than the standard rate during the course of an apprenticeship, they are getting an internationally-recognised qualification while earning money as opposed to accumulating debt, making an apprenticeship a great option for a young adult to consider."

“Despite young people thinking otherwise, employers are open minded when it comes to pay; should the right candidate come along they’re willing to pay more than the standard wage,” he added.

The research coincides with findings from Barclays and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which says apprentices can earn up to 270% more over their working lifetime than graduates.

However the Productivity and Lifetime Earnings of Apprentices and Graduates report reveals there is a large gap in earnings potential between different sectors. The average gap in earnings between apprentices and graduates is just 1.8%, but this rises to 270% in arts, media and publishing and 211% in agriculture, horticulture and animal care. This compares to 10% in social sciences and 29% in languages, literature and culture.

Mike Thompson, head of apprentices for Barclays, said: “The figures released today shows quantifiably for the first time that apprentices are getting a ‘hidden pay cheque’, through earning while working, that is comparable or in some cases higher than university graduates."