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The Highest Paying Graduate Jobs in the UK

When choosing your degree, what should you follow – your passion or money? There was a time when earning just any degree guarantee you a great salary after university. But today, things have changed. In the 70s and 80s, up to 20% of the UK population went to university. Today, that figure is more than 80%.

This means higher competition for high paying jobs. The average annual income in the UK is over £31,461 as of April 2021. This takes into account all experience levels, educational backgrounds and ages. For freshers, the average starting salary is around £21,000 per year.

Earning this amount will cover your living cost, pay off your student loan and have some for an emergency fund or investment. Sadly, life shifted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the career prospects for most graduates looks different. In fact, they are graduating into one of the most challenging job markets. This is because companies are freezing recruitment as the world’s economy is set to experience the worst recession.

Want to know which are the highest paying graduate jobs in the UK? Read on!

1. Graduate Analyst – £34,882

The highest paying graduate job in the UK is that of a graduate analyst. As an analyst, your role is to answer all kinds of questions about the company. From conducting financial analysis to providing insight into consumer behaviour. This helps to drive the brand forward.

Analysis of data is through using various software such as SQL, MATLAB, Maple and others. You’ll produce reports and present findings to management. The company will require you to work closely with other departments. This will support the growth of the company. Graduates suited for this position should have a BSc in Computer Science, Math or any STEM-related degree.

Besides having a degree, you should be a natural problem solver, have a creative analytical mind and a technical background.

2. Graduate Consultant – £29,457

The second highest paying graduate job is that of a graduate consultant. You’ll undertake both short and long term projects to address various needs and issues. The company will require you to meet with management and staff to understand their requirements.

Using data collection methods such as surveys and interviews, you’ll collect the necessary data. As a crucial part of the project team, you’ll work with highly skilled people experienced in economics, accounting and more. This will enrich your knowledge and help you develop a long term career.

Companies are looking for final year students with a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree from any discipline. You must also possess strong interpersonal skills and work under pressure.

3. Graduate Software Engineer – £​32,214

As you might have guessed from the title, a graduate software engineer will:

  • Write diagnostic programs
  • Write code
  • Design software to improve efficiency

When required, you’ll create, maintain and audit systems to meet the needs of the business.

Companies will also require you to test both software and hard systems to resolve system faults. Due to technological changes, you may have a more defined role in the company such as:

  • System designer
  • System analyst
  • System tester

A typical graduate software engineer salary starts from £18,000 to £28,370. You can earn £45,000 to £70,000 or more per year with bonuses at the senior or management level.

4. Graduate Mechanical Engineer – £28,442

A graduate mechanical engineer works with new technologies such as:

  • New manufacturing processes
  • Advanced materials
  • Highly efficient cooling systems and more
  • Develop products and applications.

The breadth of work of a graduate mechanical engineer also involves conducting research. Before embarking on any project, a graduate mechanical engineer needs to research for days, weeks or months. This is to ensure a full understanding of the project requirements.

A career in mechanical engineering is extremely exciting, with a starting salary of £24,765. With experience, the starting pay package is £28,442 or more.

5. Graduate Engineer – £26,500

The role of a graduate engineer includes conducting research, assisting on projects, and writing up reports. You are also required to perform all administrative and practical duties assigned by a supervisor.

A graduate engineer must work closely with the staff to build good relationships and foster professional values. One is also required to attend workshops and meetings as well as submit evaluation during the traineeship. To become successful:

  • Be proficient in mathematics
  • Have analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Relevant degree in engineering.

Starting salary for a graduate engineer with a high profile company in the UK is between £26,000 to £29,000.

6. Graduate Software Developer – £​27,301

As a graduate software developer, you possess specialist knowledge of different:

  • Databases
  • Information systems
  • Programming languages
  • Software architecture

As such, companies will require you to write efficient code, test and evaluate applications.

You’ll also identify areas for modification in existing apps, deploy software tools and train users. To become a software developer, you must have a degree in the following subjects:

  • Computer Software Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Software Programming and Development
  • Electronics
  • Mathematics

An analytical mind and the ability to communicate complex procedures is a plus.

7. Graduate Civil Engineer – £25,759

When undergraduates think of the highest paying graduate jobs, a graduate civil engineer comes to mind. This specialized occupation involves designing and maintaining:

  • Railways
  • Bridges
  • Irrigation projects
  • Power plants
  • Airports
  • Roads

All structures must be long lasting and able to withstand weather elements.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Conducting site investigations
  • Preparing blueprints using CAD software
  • Prepare quotations for materials and labour
  • Ensure sites meet health, safety and legal guidelines
  • Evaluate the environmental impact of the project

As you gain experience, you’ll handle more complex tasks and earn more than the average salary of £25,759.

8. Graduate Structural Engineer – £24,993

A graduate structural engineer responsibilities include:

  • Developing design ideas using CAD
  • Calculate the part of the structure that bears load and stress
  • Assist the structural engineering manager in his work
  • Work closely with key people in the company

Knowledge about the strengths and properties of different materials such as brick, timber, steel, glass and others is a must. Work with senior structural engineers to ensure newly-built structures are sound and sturdy. Teamwork, creativity, good analytical, strong mathematical skills are essential for any structural engineer.

9. Graduate Management Trainee – £23,000

The versatile skills of a graduate management trainee allow him or her to gather information on the company. By bringing positive energy into the company, the trainee upholds the company’s good name. At the end of the traineeship, you must write and submit an evaluation.

To become a graduate management trainee, have a degree in a relevant field and research abilities. Previous work experience is not necessary. Entry-level positions start at £21,300.

10. Graduate Recruitment Consultant – £21,086

People are always seeking work, and companies are unwilling to trawl through CVs to fill a vacancy. This is where a graduate recruitment consultant comes in. Your responsibility is to find qualifying candidates to fill a vacancy using all the tools provided.

You also need to arrange candidate interviews, headhunt candidates, and write adverts. To succeed as a graduate recruitment consultant, you must have excellent communication skills.

Final Thoughts

Many of these jobs could see you earning over £30,000 within the first year. To receive a higher salary, you must be hardworking, self-motivated, and creative. You will never progress to higher salaries without putting in lots of effort.