Starting salaries in London are showing signs of falling
The jobs market for graduates continues to remain buoyant - but there are signs in some areas that starting salaries are declining, research has suggested.
A major twice-yearly employment survey shows a 13% increase in graduate jobs - the fourth consecutive annual increase.
But the survey from the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows that starting salaries for university-leavers in London and East Anglia are falling.
It also found more employers are using psychometric tests in recruiting.
This latest snapshot of the jobs market - based on many of the largest, blue-chip graduate recruiters - sends a mixed message for students about to leave university.
There is no sign of a reduction in the demand for graduates from employers - with the survey reporting continued sustained growth.
There is also plenty of competition for jobs, with an average of 30 applicants for each graduate vacancy in the survey. Almost two-thirds of the graduate employers now expect a 2:1 as a minimum level degree.
Employers are increasingly using psychometric testing to find out more about applicants' abilities and thinking skills - with 92% of firms saying they were "useful" or "very useful".
But while the number of graduate jobs available has continued to expand, pay appears to be stalling.
In the key jobs market of London - representing more than two-fifths of graduate vacancies - starting salaries have fallen by 5%. In East Anglia, the decline has been 14%.
In Scotland, Wales and other regions of England, starting salaries are rising - up by 4.8% in Scotland and 5.6% in the English midlands.
The median graduate starting salary, across Britain, is £23,500, says the survey.
The AGR interprets the fall in London starting salaries as a sign that employers are confident that they can recruit more staff without any substantial increase in pay.
However there are exceptions to this - with lawyers' starting salaries climbing by 15.2% in a year, up to a median figure of £35,700. The highest starting salaries are in banking - with a median salary of £37,000 and investment banking starting at £36,000.
The AGR's chief executive, Carl Gilleard, says graduates leaving university this summer should be "optimistic about the opportunities available to them with vacancies predicted to continue to rise".