Average starting salaries for graduate jobs 'will rise by 6% to £26,500'
University leavers can now expect to earn an average of £26,500 a year in their first job, new figures suggest.
A study by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) found that starting salaries for graduates are set to rise by 6% as the jobs market begins to stabilise.
While starting salaries have remained largely flat over the last three years, the AGR's six-monthly survey found that this is likely to come to an end in the coming months.
Despite a predicted fall in graduate vacancies of 0.6% over the next few months, the report found that the number of applications for each job has dropped to 73, from 83 last year.
AGR chief executive Carl Gilleard said: "It is reassuring to see that employers are investing in graduate talent. The significant rise in starting salaries to £26,500 will be very good news indeed to students, who are bracing themselves to take on higher levels of debt as tuition fees rise to £9,000 from September this year."
Many of the 215 employers surveyed said they had seen an increase in the quality of job applications from graduates.
Mr Gilleard added: "With the continuing uncertainty in the eurozone, it is encouraging to see that employers are still talent-planning for the future and that the number of graduate vacancies is remaining constant.
"Naturally, businesses will be thinking carefully about where best to invest, and I would argue that, where graduate schemes are concerned, you really do get out what you put in.
"Businesses that create a programme which goes beyond mere training, and gives graduates the opportunity to engage in a meaningful, hands-on way with the organisation will find that they are rewarded with enthusiasm and long-term commitment by well-selected graduates."
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by High Fliers Research has found that the number of available graduate jobs could be set to rise.
According to the report, graduate vacancies in the public sector will increase by a fifth this year.
More jobs will also be created in the private sector, with accountancy firms, investment banks and engineering businesses all seeking to hire more graduates, the study found.
Copyright Press Association 2012