UK graduate salaries not increasing quickly enough to match inflation

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Grads in 2020 have earned comparably less than their counterparts from the year 2000, according to a new study. Photo: Getty
Grads in 2020 have earned comparably less than their counterparts from the year 2000, according to a new study. Photo: Getty

Inflation is outpacing increases in graduate salaries in a number of disciplines, with medics missing out by the most.

Graduates in 2020 have earned comparably less than their counterparts from the year 2000, according to a new study by Raisin UK.

The research used the 2020 salaries for the most in-demand jobs in the UK, using a salary inflation calculator to find out their growth since 2000. Then using a general inflation calculator Raisin worked out that general inflation had outgrown wage inflation by 0.14%.

Raisin found a difference in salary expectation and reality across a range of disciplines.

The research also looked at the courses and universities that produce the graduates with the highest earnings.

Medicine and dentistry topped the charts, with 47% of students surveyed going on to earn more than £39,000 ($50,466).

On the other end of the scale, only 3% of graduates from creative arts & design, mass communications and agriculture degrees were earning more than £39,000 after graduating.

Image: Raisin
Image: Raisin

While not usually on a trajectory as fast as those studying medicine, that's not to say the average earnings of these graduates hasn't improved over time. In 2020, the average salary of an art graduate is around £9,609 higher than it was in 2000, but if this would have grown in line with inflation it should be £9,633.

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Graduates from Oxford and Cambridge came out as the top earners on average, both hitting salaries above £32,000. University College London and King’s College London were close behind producing similar results.

The University of Edinburgh took fifth place, with its grads earning just over £31,000 on average.

Wage growth has been slowing since before the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, as bosses of small businesses warned small firms are “struggling to raise salaries.”

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