How much can you earn in the most popular graduate jobs?

Author: Sophie Austin - Site Manager @

Deciding what you want to do after University can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure what kind of career might be best for you. That’s why we’ve rounded up the average UK salary for some of the most popular graduate jobs, so you can get a flavour of what you could potentially earn in the most popular graduate roles.

Marketing Executive

Marketing roles are varied and they’re great for the creatively minded, as well as those who enjoy data analysis as often a marketer will need to dig into things like website statistics.

Average salary: Junior marketing executives start on around £22,149 full-time and can earn up to £34,180 in this role. At the top of the career ladder, marketing directors earn an average of £93,967 per year.

Male/Female split: 36% men, 64% women.

Career progression:

Junior Marketing Executive – £22,149

Marketing Executive – £34,180

Marketing Director – £93,967


Software Engineer

If you’re taking a degree in ICT, programming, coding or software, becoming a software engineer is a surefire way to start your career climb at on a high rung. Software engineers use computer science and mathematical computations to create applications, systems and networks.

Average salary: Software engineers usually start on a salary of between £23,000 and £28,000. Once you have built experience, the average salary for software engineers is £45,1253 full-time and £17,177 part-time.

Male/Female split: 90% male, 10% female.

Career progression:

Software engineer- £23-28,000

Senior Software Engineer – £45,123

IT Director – £78,637


Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers are problem solvers: they analyse problems and design mechanical and thermal devices to solve them. One of the broadest engineering fields out there, mechanical engineers can work in variety of industries, from healthcare to aviation.

Average salary: Mechanical engineers start on a salary between £20,000 and £28,000 per year. After this, the average salary for this role for mid-level mechanical engineers is £46,909 full-time and £17,177 part-time.

Career progression:

Mechanical Engineer (entry): £20,000-£28,000

Mechanical Engineer (mid-level): £46,909

Principal Mechanical Engineer: £59,000 – £78,000


Hospitality management

Hospitality management is a varied career that can see you working in prestigious event venues, restaurants, hotels and more. Hospitality management is career for great communicators, leaders and problem-solvers as they oversee a variety of teams.

Average salary: Hospitality managers usually start on a salary between £19,000 and £20,500 per year. After this, the average wage is £30,341 full-time and £12,466 part-time.

Male/female split: 55% male, 45% female

Career progression:

Hospitality Manager (entry): £19,000 – £20,500

Hospitality Manager (mid-level): £30,341

Hospitality Director / Director of Operations: £51k-£85k


Events coordinator

Becoming an events coordinator means you value (and are good at!) organisation and communication. Events coordinators help handle some of the UK’s largest events, such as the Chelsea Flower Show, and can be involved at every level of the event planning process, from receiving enquiries to ensuring successful event delivery.

Average salary: An events coordinator starts on an average salary of £22,149, and once promoted, Conference and Events Managers earn an average salary of £30,875 per year.

Male/Female split: 36% male, 64% female

Career progression:

Events coordinator: £22,129

Conference and Events Manager: £30,875

Director of Events/Head of Events: £37,000 – £70,000


Trainee accountant

Trainee accountants work on behalf of businesses and clients to prepare and reconcile financial information, accounts and cash flow. You’ll most likely work alongside a senior accountant to develop your knowledge and gain practical skills.

Average salary: Trainee accountants earn an average of £24,801 full-time as a starting salary. If you get your chartership to become a Chartered Accountant, your average salary increases to an average £42,728 per year and can be up to £96,200 per year.

Accountant’s salaries are relatively steady, tracking a 0.5% wage increase year on year.

Male/female split: 55% male, 45% female

Career progression:

Trainee Accountant: £24,801

Chartered/Senior Accountant: £42,728

Finance Director: £88,749


Insurance underwriter

Insurance underwriters evaluate the risk a potential client presents by performing a risk assessment on behalf of their company. Ultimately, it’s the insurance underwriter that decides how much coverage a client should receive and how much they should pay for it.

Average salary: Insurance underwriters usually start on around £25,000. Salaries go up to an average of £41,631 full-time and £18,494 part-time. Insurance Underwriters’ salaries are rising, too. Part-time salaries have seen a 4% jump in the last year, and full-time salaries a 4.2% jump. Insurance Underwriting is a balanced industry, with a 50/50 male-female split.

Male/female split: 50% male, 50% female

Career progression:

Insurance underwriter (entry): £25,000

Insurance underwriter (senior): £41,631

Specialist insurance underwriter/Reinsurance: £90,000


Risk analyst

A risk analyst looks at a company’s investment portfolio and analyses the risks involved in financial and commercial decisions. This role requires a high level of analytical skills, and often the risk analyst will make recommendations to limit the amount of potential risk for their company.

Average salary: Junior risk analyst salaries start around £30,500 per year and go up to between £41,000 and £57,000 per year.

Male/female split: 67% male, 33% female

Career progression:

Junior risk analyst: £30,500

Mid-level risk analyst: £41,000 – £57,000

Senior risk analyst/Risk Manager: £57,000 – £86,000


Retail manager

A retail manager is an excellent position for those with a creative flair for the commercial. Responsible for supervising outlets, staff, sales and stock, a career in retail can see you move into logistics, wholesale, product development and more.

Average salary: The average starting salary for a retail manager assistant is £23,698 per year. Once you are in the role for a few years, the average salary evens out to £33,696 full-time and £13,735 part-time.

Retail manager salaries are increasing steadily year on year, with part-time salaries going up 7.9% year on year and full-time salaries rising 4% year on year.

Male/Female split: 61% male, 39% female

Career progression:

Assistant Store Manager (entry): £23,698

Retail Store Manager: £33,696

Store Director/District Manager: £44,000 – £57,000


Scientific laboratory technician

Scientific laboratory technicians work with complex scientific equipment, often performing highly technical diagnostic tests that help scientists focus on the complex analytical processes involved with research. Technicians can work across a number of different scientific fields.

Average salary: Lab technicians start on a salary between £15,000 and £19,000. As you progress, the average salary is between £24,115 and £30,313 full-time. These wages are on the rise too, with scientific laboratory technicians seeing an increase between 1.2 and 3.4% year on year.

Male/female split: 55% male, 45% female

Career progression:

Laboratory Technician (entry): £15,000-£19,000

Laboratory Technician (experienced): £24,115 – £30,313

Laboratory manager: £40,000


Civil Service Fast stream

The Civil Service fast stream teaches graduates the skills and foundational knowledge needed to move into senior leadership roles within the Civil Service. You’ll be placed into a department within the civil service and offered structured development.

Average salary: £28,000 starting salary. Once you’ve completed the scheme and are promoted, you will be earning on average between £45,000 and £55,000.

Male/Female split: 51.7% male, 48.3% female (in terms of successful applicants)

Career progression:

Civil service entry level: £28,000

Experienced civil servant (Executive Officer): £35,000-£45,000

Senior Civil Servant (Senior Executive Officer): £69,620 – £90,500



Nursing is a varied role that has a wealth of specialisations depending on your interests. 54% of nurses work in the NHS, compared with 37% in private and acute primary care. Most graduates tend to go into the NHS, which is why it has a much higher proportion of nurses aged 55 and under compared to the adult health care market.

Average salary: A nurse’s starting salary tends to be between £22,128 and £28,746 at Band 5 (not including a London supplement.) Throughout your career, the average salary for nurses is £32,388 full-time and £16,800 part-time

Male/Female Split: 14% male, 86% female

Career progression:

Band 5 nurse (entry): £22,128 – £28,746

Band 7 nurse: £31,696 – £41,787

Band 9 nurse: £79,415 – £100,431


Didn’t find your role? Check out the average salaries for more jobs, including director positions so you can plan your career trajectory.