piggy bankRecent research has found that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates can earn nearly 20% more than their peers, at an average of £26,023.

The Korn Ferry division of the Hay Group analysed salaries of 42,500 entry level jobs from over 770 organisations across the UK. Their results also show that entry level STEM roles within software development or engineering could see an increase of wage by 19% to £30,973 and 17% to £30,370 respectively, making these the highest paid entry-level roles in the country.

The sectors traditionally considered the highest paying for graduates, such as law (£25,893) or finance and accounting (£24,624) are shown to fall below software development and engineering salaries.

Vivienne Dykstra, global graduate practice leader for Korn Ferry Futurestep, said: “With the digital sector now making up ten per cent of the UK’s GDP, we’re seeing a far greater demand for graduates with STEM qualifications.

“This demand is being reflected in the salaries that newly-qualified students can command. With digitally savvy talent at a premium, the graduate recruitment market is a competitive place. Employers need to look at ways to differentiate themselves. Alongside providing opportunities to develop and grow, it’s critical businesses offer strong starting salaries to really stand out from the crowd.”

The report also revealed the top locations in the UK where graduates can earn the highest salary. Unsurprisingly, London is at the top of the list with an average salary of £27,845. Those in the West Midlands earn around £3,000 less at £24,462, whilst in Scotland graduates can earn above the UK average at £26,543.

Dykstra added: “It’s unsurprising that graduates in London command the largest salaries. However, graduates wanting to earn a higher-than-average amount, but not live in the capital, should consider locations north of the border where the average is £26,543.

“Either way, with organisations looking to attract the best and brightest talent into their business, graduates entering the job market in 2016 can expect to see salary remuneration as a key differentiator in the job offers they receive.”

If you’re an engineering student unsure what career you want to pursue check out our blog post, Engineering Degrees – Surprising Career Options

If you are interested in a career in Intellectual Property keep an eye out for our new site launching this summer: IP Careers. 

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