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Starting salary for graduates rises to £26,000

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The average starting salary for UK graduates rose by 4% last year to £26,000, following three consecutive years of stagnation, a report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) said today.

It showed that graduates joining the public sector - organisations such as the civil service, Teach First, police forces, local government and the prison service - are set to enjoy the highest rise of any industry group: 7.5%, despite the Government's austerity drive.

The report also showed that the number of graduate vacancies is predicted to rise by 9% in 2013.

The mean number of vacancies per employer, which has remained relatively stable over the past four years, is forecast to see a substantial growth according to the study. It is predicted this will increase from an average 98 vacancies per employer last year to 109 in 2013.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "The results indicate a renewed level of optimism among organisations for the year ahead. With the graduate job market inextricably linked to business confidence, it is reassuring to see that employers are committed to investing in graduate talent despite the backdrop of continuing global economic uncertainty."

Gilleard continued: "It is encouraging to see the starting salary rise and the prediction that it will continue to increase this year to £26,500, following three years of standstill.

"I appreciate that businesses, ever more so in the current climate, need to think very carefully about where to invest, and believe that, where graduate schemes are concerned, you really do get out what you put in.

"The difficult economic climate means that the 'war for talent' is more important than ever before, as organisations look to recruit and retain people who will give them a competitive edge, and we believe the continued rise predicted in starting salaries is a reflection of this."