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    The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has surveyed over 200 blue chip companies, and found that the average starting salary for graduates is likely to rise to £26,000 this year – a 4% increase on 2011. However, a 1.2% drop in the number of graduate vacancies is also predicted.

    The salary increase represents the biggest rise since pre-recession levels – the average graduate starting salary has stayed fixed at £25,000 since 2009.

    In 2010-11, investment banks offered the highest starting salaries, averaging £38,250. This year, however, a 41.7% reduction in the number of graduate vacancies is expected in this sector.

    As data was only gathered from blue chip companies – the likes of Accenture, M&S and UBS – the AGR report isn’t an accurate reflection of the overall situation for graduates. Data collected by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) indicates that full-time salaries for new graduates are between £17,720 and £23,335.

    Some employers are set to buck the trend of falling recruitment rates; companies in the IT and telecommunications sectors anticipate the biggest increase in the number of graduate vacancies this year, with the figure expected to increase by 32.5%. Similar increases are also predicted in the construction sector, the public sector, and amongst consultancy firms.

    Although cost-cutting and restructuring is resulting in redundancies in many areas, industry leaders maintain that graduates are still regarded as an important source of fresh talent.

    Are you still at university? Make sure you check out our student finance guide.

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