What job sectors pay the best graduate salaries?

Although we can expect the pandemic to have some impact on salary offerings, this year’s data from our survey builds on data from recent years, reflecting growth in graduate salaries and investment in graduate jobs. This year’s survey reveals that the average salary on offer to graduates is €31,938, up from an average of €30,409 in last year’s report.

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In the 2018 research the figure stood at €29,060 so this year’s figure is a significant increase. Our research shows that 63% of all graduates will earn between €20,000 and €30,000 as a starting salary, very similar to last year’s 64%. Last year, 3% of employers offered salaries below the €20,000 mark, this year there were none in this category. 29% will earn between €30,000 and €34,000, very similar to last year’s 27%. Interestingly, 31% of graduates will earn more than €34,000, up from last year’s 26% and 16% in 2018, indicative of the healthy state of graduate salaries at the time this research was conducted.

Graduate expectations

Just under half of employers (48%) surveyed said that graduates had realistic expectations in terms of what they could earn as a graduate starting salary, with 34% saying that expectations were unrealistic and 18% were unsure.

Where are the highest salaries?

Retail and sales is the best paid sector in this year’s survey, at €33,925, just ahead of Law at €33,156. These were also the two best paid sectors in last year’s survey. See the graphic below. A significant amount of salaries are now through the €30k barrier as a starting salary, including banking, technology, engineering, retail and sales, logistics and transport, research and development and construction. The lowest paid sector in this year’s results is in the food, drink and hospitality sector at €26,500, but that salary is up considerably on last year’s average for the sector, which stood at €24,000. Accountancy and financial management, which always provides a large volume of graduate positions has a similar salary to last year, showing a slight increase from €26,468 to €26,757.

Visit the links below to find out mor about what employers are offering, or visit our #GradStories sector to watch what gradutes say about working in various sectors. You can download the full gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey here .

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