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Five of the best-paying graduate jobs

So you’ve graduated from university. Now what?

For many graduates, knowing what to do with your degree isn’t always an obvious choice. Especially if you’re looking to earn right away and are searching for a good starting salary to help kick things off. But just how much should you be looking to earn?   

To help you get started on your perfect post-university career path, here are just five of the best-paying graduate jobs:

 

Accountant

What they do: Prepare a company’s accounts, which are then used to give an overview of the organisation’s overall financial status. Typical duties for an accountant include tracking income and expenditure, conducting audits, mitigating financial risks and advising on budgets.

What you need: Excellent attention to detail, as well as a good head for figures.  Analytical skills and the ability to work well under pressure will also be essential qualities for graduate accountants. Additional accountancy-specific qualifications (such as AAT and CIMA) may also be required to progress in a lot of companies –  many finance-based graduate schemes will include these courses as part of your training. 

What you can earn: Graduate accountants can expect to earn around £23,000* as a starting salary (usually slightly higher than non-graduate starters), potentially rising to around £30,000 if working for higher-profile companies. 

Companies hiring: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, ACCA.

Perfect for: People who want the numbers to add up. 

Our advice: Although many companies won’t necessarily require accountants to have a degree to get started, it can be an extremely competitive industry for anyone just starting out. As well as leveraging any previous experience you may have within your graduate CV (e.g. internships, work experience etc.), make sure you list which accounting software you’ve worked with and some of the most relevant modules you covered as part of your degree. 

Five jobs in the accounting industry

View all graduate accounting jobs

 

Recruitment consultant

What they do: Source the right candidates for a range of different roles. This could include writing job descriptions, vetting candidates, and matching them to the needs of the role. It may also involve a fair amount of ‘headhunting’, by searching job sites and social media platforms to find the best person for the job.

What you need: Excellent communication skills, both when working with clients and with potential candidates. Good research skills will also be essential, as well as a proactive and results-driven personality.

What you can earn: Graduate recruitment consultants can expect to earn somewhere in the region of £25,000 when just starting out. However, this could rise a lot higher with potential bonuses and commission on top. 

Companies hiring: Reed, Hays.  

Perfect for: People who want to make it their job to find jobs for others.

Our advice: Starting a career in recruitment can be incredibly rewarding, especially financially. But don’t be put off if you don’t have previous experience in a similar role. Many recruiters will accept applications from graduates, regardless of their degree. It’s more about showing you have the right mindset for the role, and proving you can thrive in a results-driven environment. So make sure you make this clear within your application, and point to any examples of hitting your goals – professionally, personally, or otherwise.

How to become a recruitment consultant

View all graduate recruitment consultant jobs

 

Analyst

What they do: Gather and analyse a company’s data, monitor industry trends, conduct research and come to actionable conclusions. Their role may also involve writing up reports on key insights, and reporting back to senior stakeholders.

What you need: Most employers will expect at least a bachelor’s degree, along with some evidence of working with and interpreting complex data. Critical thinking skills and excellent attention to detail will be similarly essential.  

What you can earn: Graduate analysts canwill earn around £25,000, with higher salaries for those working within more specialised fields.

Companies hiring: Greencore, Wowcher, Deloitte

Perfect for: People who like to analyse everything. 

Our advice: There are a wider range of different specialisms for analysts to work within, including market research, business analysis, data analysis, systems analysis, and investment analysis. If you’re struggling to find analyst roles within your area, try opening your search up to include these keywords. Many employers will provide you with on-the-job training to help you get up-to-speed, so you may be eligible to apply for more roles than you think by simply widening your scope.

How to become an analyst 

View all graduate analyst jobs

 

Area manager

What they do: Oversee and manage a group of stores for one particular area or region. Typical roles include everything from managing budgets and hitting sales goals, through to hiring management roles for the stores under your supervision.   

What you need: Excellent interpersonal skills, drive and ambition. You’ll also need to know a company’s products and processes inside-out, in order to help lead your area by example. 

What you can earn: Some of the country’s top graduate schemes offer starting salaries around £40,000+ for graduate area managers . However, this can reach as high as £70,000 after three or four years’ worth of training and experience. 

Companies hiring: Aldi, Lidl, B&M.   

Perfect for: People who want to sell their skills (and get paid for it). 

Our advice: As they’re highly lucrative positions, they often come with a rigorous recruitment process, which means you need to do all you can to stand out. Always ensure that you research as much as you can about the company you’re applying for, whether you do this via desk-based research or by making store visits. That way you’ll have a wealth of information to reference when it comes to the interview. 

View all graduate area manager jobs

 

Software engineer

What they do: Research, design, develop and maintain a variety of software, whether new or existing.  This could range from building databases for internal use and developing new technologies, through to building servers and manufacturing mobile apps.

What you need: A tech-based degree is generally considered a prerequisite for software engineering roles. A good knowledge of different programming languages will also be incredibly helpful, and will mean you’re able to apply for a great range of roles.

What you can earn: Graduate software engineers will generally earn somewhere between £25,000 and £30,000, depending on their technical capabilities and the size of the company. 

Companies hiring: Vitality, BJSS.  

Perfect for: People who aren’t afraid of Python. 

Our advice: If you’re struggling to find tangible experience to add to your CV, try broadening your horizons by learning different coding languages. Even if it’s not something you want to use in your day-to-day role, just a small amount of experience in using certain languages will help to make your application more well-rounded. Especially if you’ve been proactive and taken a course in your spare time.

View all graduate software engineer jobs 

 

Other high-paying graduate jobs: graduate business analyst, graduate structural engineer, marketing executive, quantity surveyor

 

*salaries based on jobs advertised on Reed.co.uk in July 2021

 

 

Still searching for your perfect position? View all available graduate jobs now

 

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