Today’s graduates like presenting themselves as victims of the 2012 tuition-fee hike. Two weeks ago, the National Union of Students said that graduates are worried about their hefty student debt and are struggling to move out of their parents’ homes. Yet the latest employment figures paint a different picture.
In 2015, the first cohort of £9,000 fee-paying students graduated from university and started new jobs on an average salary of £23,700 – hardly a figure to be scoffed at. A year on and the future is even brighter for graduates, with the number of job vacancies finally surpassing the pre-recession peak.
Some leading UK employers are offering graduates an average starting salary of £30,000, and, with the right degree and credentials, graduates could earn £40,000 per year in some of the top law and consulting firms. It’s not as if these positions are in short supply, either. This year, graduate vacancies in accounting are expected to rise to 5,000, and to almost 2,000 in investment banking. These numbers have been increasing for four years running.
A job in the city isn’t for everyone, but the job market is looking bright across the board. The number of jobs in the public sector are up by over 10 per cent from this time last year. The government is also undertaking a big recruitment push to train young teachers – Teach First has almost 2,000 graduate vacancies on offer this year.
The number of work placements for students is also on the rise. Almost every top UK graduate employer offers paid work experience for students. Internships that had previously been reserved for students going into their penultimate year at university are being opened up to students at all stages of their university career. The number of opportunities for students to experience the world of work has reached unprecedented levels: there are thousands of placements on offer every year for students, many of which no longer require a commitment to long, unpaid hours.