Recent UK graduates starting work for blue-chip firms are drawing salaries of £22,000 a year on average, £1,000 more than last year, a survey suggests.
Graduate vacancies are up, the survey found
The number of graduate-level jobs has also risen, by 11.3%, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) said.
This meant less competition for work and higher starting salaries, which rose to £26,000 on average in London.
Since 2003, graduate vacancies were up by more than a fifth according to the AGR, which spoke to 224 companies.
The earnings figures are higher than the actual average salary for graduates, most of whom do not work for leading companies such as banks and law firms.
The AGR found that an increase in vacancies this year had led to a drop in the number of applications for each job, from 37.6 to 32.9.
Chief executive Carl Gilleard said the findings were "good news for graduates".
He said: "There have been consistent above-the-rate-of-inflation rises in salaries for three consecutive years.
"This suggests that employers do value graduates who can offer the right skills and experience."
The lowest typical starting salary was in Northern Ireland, on £18,000.
However, a graduate starting work at an investment bank could expect to earn £35,000.
A recent report by economists at Swansea University found people with degrees could expect to earn £150,000 more over their lifetimes than those with just A-levels.