Want a £3,000 pay rise in your first graduate job? Live in the North East.

4 Minutes

This year, the working world welcomes the Class of 2018. But where are this years’ best grad...

By Pareto Team


This year, the working world welcomes the Class of 2018. But where are this years’ best graduates gravitating towards, and more importantly, in what sector?

Here at Pareto, we did the hard work, so that you don’t have to. We discovered the secrets to attracting the best graduate talent, taking into account the location and key skills. We’ve researched the average salary across the graduate sector and discovered some interesting insights.


Salaries and Benefits

The research, which examined the roles and packages of 300 graduate jobs across the top 10 industries on indeed.co.uk, found that IT companies top the table when it comes to salaries, offering recruits an average of £28,765 for their first role after university in markets where competition for talent is fiercest.

Not all industries offer graduates salaries at the top end of the scale, with graduates who enter the creative arts likely to earn £19,525 on average.


Pareto Future Talent Infographic


It was also discovered that a number of industries focus on providing highly competitive benefits packages for staff to attract grads to top roles, with engineering leading the way, along with business and finance. Perks offered to staff in companies keen to secure the best graduate talent include cycle to work schemes, progression and development opportunities and healthcare cash schemes.

Offering a well-rounded rewards package, which combines a strong salary with a fantastic workplace atmosphere and benefits can be the best way to attract top-tier talent. It shows that not only does a company pay well, but it also cares about the work-life balance of its staff and their general happiness at work.


Regional Hotspots in Graduate Recruitment

The research also discovered that location is a key element of a successful recruitment process, with some areas possessing a large skills gap and an abundance of roles. This allows new graduates to command a higher salary.

It was found that when it comes to IT and tech roles, the North West - including Manchester - and London were the industries’ biggest hotspots, offering high numbers of roles to those with relevant degrees in the field, who are analytical, good at problem solving, entrepreneurial and fantastic communicators.

These regions, incidentally, were also two of the highest paying for new graduates, showing how keen companies are to secure top talent. In the North West, the average graduate can expect to earn £24,706 in their first year, while in Greater London, this is higher still, with an average of £25,956. In the North West in particular, salaries for graduates have become increasingly competitive in recent years thanks to the swell of digital firms setting up and moving to the region. Incentives such as subsidised office space for start ups has meant Manchester and the surrounding area becoming a hub for tech-based companies who compete for the best graduates.

Perhaps surprisingly, the highest average graduate salaries (£26,313) were found to be available in the North East. Here, a high concentration of manufacturing companies means businesses are in constant financial competition with other firms, meaning they have to offer higher salaries to graduates to make sure they attract the top talent. The West Midlands was also found to be a hotspot for manufacturing jobs, with companies in this area offering an average starting salary of £22,971.

In the education sector, the job hotspots were discovered to be located across Yorkshire & the Humber and the East Midlands. Recruiters in these two competitive areas were looking for graduates who had gained some industry experience, had a creative flair, a passion for the role and a strong ability to communicate well. A shortage of teachers, in evidence across England, could be behind the fact that in each of these regions graduates are being offered impressive salary packages amounting to £25,304 and £22,337 respectively.

In the south of the country, science and the arts divided the region, with the South West offering science graduates a generous salary averaging £24,711 as organisations seek out top-tier STEM graduates. In the South East, marketing and digital arts roles were found to be in abundance, with the region seeking out creative types possessing passion and strong copywriting skills. Companies here are increasingly looking to entice high performers away from the hub that is London as they themselves spread their wings, and are offering a competitive £25,116 on average to attract the best graduates and entice them into areas surrounding the capital.


Graduate Skills

The research from Pareto discovered that while regional hotspots mean there are different roles available across the country, there are a number of common skills companies see as essential in their ideal graduate recruit.

Across all ten industries included in the study, a degree in a relevant subject sits among the most important traits employers seek, along with soft skills such as the ability to communicate well and IT skills. Employers across the board are also looking to recruit people who are driven to succeed and are able to work well as part of a team.

However, while there are common skills sought by all graduate recruiters, certain industries have specific skill sets they look out for that help to pinpoint graduates who would be the best performers for the jobs available.

For example, manufacturing recruiters are looking out for graduates who are organised, quick thinking and practical, while in healthcare, it’s vital that recruits work well under pressure and possess a degree of flexibility in their approach.

In engineering and tech roles, it was discovered that it’s important to companies that they find people who possess strong problem-solving skills, the ability to analyse data effectively and numerical and sales acumen, skills shared with the IT industry, which also requires candidates to be ambitious and experienced in relevant programs. In science, numerical skills are also highly prized, along with analytical prowess and excellent attention to detail.

Recruiters looking for graduates for business roles are on the lookout for those who have motivation, a willingness to learn and strong commercial acumen, while in finance, it’s flexibility, logic and finely tuned numerical and problem-solving abilities that define the ideal graduate candidate.

When it comes to finding the right candidate for a graduate role, there are a number of things for business leaders to consider. Whether it’s being aware of industry hotspots, seeking the right skills or offering the best possible rewards packages, getting it right can be the difference between attracting top talent and, missing out.

Are you ready to improve your graduate attraction process? Here are Pareto, we offer a bespoke service. We analyse where you can improve during your initial talent attraction process and we’re there to support you from start to finish, including a comprehensive aftercare service. Click here to get more information on our graduate services.

Looking to strengthen your Business?

Let's Talk