The class of 2016 expect to earn an annual average salary of £28,362 for their first role post-graduation, according to research from job website reed.co.uk.
The average graduate starting salary offered in 2016 is £27,966, which is £396 less than expectations. In contrast, the class of 2015 predicted an average of £27,327 while the typical starting salary was £25,083 (a difference of £2244).
The researchers found that the gap between anticipated starting salaries and the actual pay on offer has sharply narrowed over the past five years. Since 2012 graduate salary expectations have risen by more than a third (37%) from £20,664 to £28,362. However, average advertised salaries have only seen growth of 10% over the same time period (from £25,357 to £27,966).
London remains the best place for graduates, since the capital boasts the highest density of graduate vacancies, closely followed by Manchester and Birmingham. Graduates working in London can look forward to taking home an average salary of £30,002. Other potentially attractive places for graduates' first roles were Reading – where average starting salaries reached £30,225 – and Liverpool – where they could expect £33,967.
Those looking to become qualified accountants have the highest earning power with average starting salaries hitting £50,463, which is £15,896 (46%) more than the average anticipated salary for that role of £34,567. Graduates in the construction and property sector are similarly undervaluing themselves, with salaries on offer averaging at £40,834, 37% (£11,085) more than the £29,749 they expect.
Commenting on the research Lynn Cahillane, communications manager at reed.co.uk, said that today’s graduates have a lot to contend with. “With hefty student loans to pay paired with rising living costs it’s little surprise that they’re looking to earn more now than a few years ago," she said. "The good news is that the future looks bright for the thousands of graduates entering the job market for the first time, with more job opportunities and more attractive pay packages on offer this year.”