More bad news for students: graduate starting salaries are getting WORSE

As well as having to cope with sky-high fees, graduates are now paid LESS than they would have been seven years ago

  • Students graduating today will earn 11% less than those in 2007
  • The average graduate salary is now £21,700, dropping from £24,300

New figures published by The Complete University Guide show graduate earnings have dropped 11% in real terms between 2007 and 2012.

The decreasing value of the ‘premium’ of a degree means that some graduates in skilled jobs will now earn only £6,700 more than their peers without degrees in unskilled jobs.

Those studying social policy, architecture, french, and english have been affected most, with a drop in earnings of almost three times the average, adding weight to the argument that humanities degrees are largely useless.

The overall decline can partially be blamed on the ever-increasing number of students attending university, which has devalued the prestige of particular degrees.

Lord Baker, the former Conservative Education Secretary, published a report saying England has the second highest number of “overqualified” adults in the developed world, with over 25% of graduates working in retail or bar work after leaving university.

Students face crippling fees and smaller earnings

Given this, and the fact it now costs students in England and Wales as much as £9000 a year in fees alone to go to university, students may be wondering whether a university education is worth the experience given it no longer seems to be a guaranteed route to a high-paying job.


Ministers repeatedly claim that undergraduate degrees can add an average of £10,000 to a lifetime’s earnings, but based on this new research that number seems to be unrealistic for many students.

Even the typically high-earning vocations such as medicine and law have been hit, with declines of 15% and 17% respectively.

However, it’s not all bad news as if you’re studying materials technology or librarianship, you’re laughing – their relative earnings have grown by around three-quarters.


Bernard Kingston, principal author of The Complete University Guide, said of the report: “It is helpful for young people considering which subject to choose to see how the earning potential for the occupations for which they may qualify changes over a short time.”