How to get a graduate job and maximise your salary

Some 12pc of recent graduates were unemployed in the third quarter of 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics, as the above chart shows. Web searches for graduate jobs are now up 350pc year-on-year, Adzuna said. 

However, more than half a million graduates are expected to start looking for jobs this year, with at least 40 graduates competing for every one job, it found.

New post-study work visas, launched in July, will allow international students to remain in the country for up to two years after their studies to work, or three for doctoral students, upping competition for the most attractive jobs. The move has been designed to allow Britain to retain “the brightest talent” as it recovers from coronavirus. 

Opportunities were most plentiful in sectors that had held up best during the crisis, such as in logistics and warehousing, where positions were more than 200pc on pre-pandemic levels, manufacturing, construction, and IT, where the number of available positions were up 137pc, 91pc and 25pc on pre-pandemic levels respectively. 

Average advertised graduate salaries stood at £24,000, up from £21,400 last year. The big four accountancy firms, KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PWC, were also ranked among the biggest employers of graduates. 

What are your options if you are looking for a graduate job? Telegraph Money has outlined some of the choices available.

Continue to study 

Some graduates are betting that job opportunities will be better a few years from now and so are applying to do further study to improve their career prospects in the meantime. About 14pc of students typically go on to study for a master’s degree or PhD, according to Universities UK, which represents universities. 

Fees for a one year master’s degree are typically between £8,000 and £10,000. You can get a government loan for up to £11,222, however you’ll be charged interest on this and will also need to cover living expenses.  

The cost of doing a PhD is around £4,000 a year, although some students have their fees paid by a funding body. Universities offer scholarships and bursaries to help cover living costs and government loans are available.

Further study can pay off later down the line. The average postgraduate earns £42,000 a year compared with £34,000 for the average graduate, according to government figures. However that will depend on the course you choose.

People with postgraduate degrees in humanities and liberal arts earn on average just £20,000 five years after graduating, official figures show. This is far below the average wage of around £30,000 a year. The best value postgraduate degree is a master’s in business administration, which secures the average postgraduate a salary of £57,800 per year five years after their graduation.