What do graduate and apprentice salaries look like in 2022?

May 3, 2022 | Development

What are typical salaries for early career hires in 2022 and how do they vary across sectors? Nicola Thomas, head of research at ISE, takes a deep dive into ISE’s Student Development survey.

When it comes to attracting and retaining early-career hires, salary plays an important role in organisations securing the right graduates and apprentices.

While salaries might not be the only thing that helps you attract top talentfor example, we know that generation Z is a much more value-driven generation looking for employers that align with their personal valuessalary still plays an important role in employees feeling satisfied and fairly compensated for their work.

We’ve delved into this year’s ISE Student Development Survey to tell us what the typical graduate and apprentice salaries look like in 2022.

Not all early career salaries are the same

First of all, it’s important to note that not all early career salaries look the same.

The ISE development survey found that whilst the median salary for a graduate was £28,563 in 2022, it was only £17,475 for a school and college leaver.

We also see a difference in career progression between the two, with 31% of graduates ending up in a senior management role after a graduate programme, but only 14% of school and college leavers doing the same. This highlights the difference in upwards mobility between those that go on to do graduate programmes and those who do not.

However, despite a significantly higher starting salary for graduate roles, we still see that the graduate starting salary has taken a downturn from our data in 2021, when the median graduate salary was reported as £29,667.

Similarly, graduate salary has also remained stagnant over the last couple of years, with an average salary of £40,000 at the three year mark in both 2021 and 2022.

This downturn and stagnation of salary for early career hires is reflective of the slow economic recovery we’re seeing after the pandemic.

Interestingly, the 2022 survey also found that a postgraduate degree did not seem to have any real impact on graduate salary, with only 6% of employers stating that a postgraduate degree had any bearing when it came to faster salary progression.

The impact of sector on early career salaries

When we look at salary increase for early career hires across all sectors, the median salary increase for a graduate was 35% and 55% for school and college leavers.

However, here we see huge differences across sectors. School and college leavers see the biggest increase in salary at the three year mark in the Digital and IT sector with an impressive average 93% increase in salary.

The most significant salary progression is found in the legal sector, where graduates can expect an average salary increase of 142% after three years.

This is perhaps not unexpected, given that most graduates entering development programmes in the legal sector are often working towards qualifications that result in a significant pay rise once qualified.

The Health and Pharmaceutical, and Digital and IT sector also lead the way with most significant salary increases for early career hires, with an average increase of  54% and 50% respectively at the three year mark.

Read ISE’s Student Development Survey 2022

Read more from ISE researcher Nicola Thomas

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