Ranked: The grad jobs that will get you the biggest salary straight out of uni

I need a job in Private Equity ASAP

With Government plans changing so students are paying off more and more of their student loans and sooner, it’s never been more important to secure a good grad job after uni.

For grads looking to go into Accounting or Law, the ultimate goal is securing a spot in The Magic Circle or The Big Four. But what about all the other careers?

Research from Institute of Student Employers (ISE) indicates that the average graduate salary in Britain sits at an impressive £33,229 a year, but this is targeted more towards larger employers and financial services.

Telegraph Money has collected data on the UK’s highest paying grad jobs on the market. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration on what he hell to do after uni, here are the best graduate jobs to get into if you want the biggest salary straight out of uni.


The lowest on this ranking and probably most surprising is accounting. A starting job at The Big Four is the mother of of all grad schemes. Landing a job at KPMGEYDeloitte, or PwC is the ultimate glistening goal for anyone successful enough to make it though the relentless rounds of application tasks.

But compared to the other jobs on the list, starting salaries in accountancy might not be as high as you’d expect. The 2022 Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends report, which compiles data from 23,000 employers, found that typical salaries for trainee Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) accountants ranged between £19,000 and £25,000.

Whereas grads who opted for the alternative Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification ranged between £21,000 and £25,000.

Survey results suggest that the average starting salary for a job at the Big Four is around £30,000.

Retail Schemes

Next on the list is landing a spot on a respectable Retail Scheme. For grads that might have worked part time in retail jobs at uni, starting at the bottom of a supermarket chain and working your way up can prove to be a very financially rewarding option.

As far as grad jobs go, Aldi offers graduate area managers a starting salary of £50,000 which then rises to £90,615 in the eighth year. Those who secure a management role at Lidl can get up to £37,000. Tesco pays between £28,000 and £37,000, depending on which grad scheme you join.

Public Sector

Although not the highest immediate starting salary on the list, the civil service fast track scheme has a starting salary of between £27,000 and £28,000 which then rises to a very impressive £45,0000 to £50,000 after completing the three year programme.

Also in the public sector, the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme pays £27,702 a year, while students joining the National Audit Office can expect to earn more than £25,000 in Newcastle and more than £30,000 in London.


Depending on where you’re starting, consulting is up there for good grad jobs. Graduates can expect to start on between £30,000 and £50,000, depending on which firm you’re at. For Bain, McKinsey and BCG, salaries start at around £49,500 for first-year analysts.

Other companies such as Newton offer a £45,000-£50,000 starting salary with a £2,500 signing bonus and promises that pay will increase with every promotion and every year.
The average UK consultant salary is around £85,000 so getting onto one of these grad schemes could mean you’re rolling in it within a couple of years.


Group of students graduating

The Magic Circle is to law-students what The Big Four is to those getting into accounting, a golden ticket into earning a huge salary. Magic Circle firms often support graduate hires with grants while they sit the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, which was introduced in 2021. Some grants ranged from £12,500 to £17,500 in 2022.

Graduate salaries for trainee lawyers begin at around £45,000-£50,000 a year, depending on location. However, once a grad has qualified, salaries sky rocket with a lot of firms paying newly qualified solicitors more than £100,000 and as much as £180,000 at the top of the market.

Investment Banking

It’s no surprise that Investment Banking is up there for one of the best grad jobs to secure for the best salary. Notoriously one of the hardest sectors to get into as a graduate, a starting salary for an investment banker is over £70,000. That would definitely get you paying of your student loan in no time.

Many of the big names in investment banking such as Rothschild, JPMorgan Chase, Evercore and Goldman Sachs also offer significant bonuses at the end of the first year, some of which have been as high as £50,000.

Private Equity

And finally, the ultimate goal, the one and only for grads looking for the best salary, working in private equity has been found to be the highest paying job sector for graduates.

Private Equity, since I didn’t have a clue myself, involves investing and seeking to turn around privately owned companies. The current graduate salary stands at around £75,000 a year with yearly bonuses ranging from £25,000 – £100,000. I need to find a way into Private Equity immediately.

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