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Graduate salaries 'stay at 25k'

9 February 10 00:54 GMT

Average graduate salaries in the UK will remain frozen at £25,000 for the second year running, research suggests.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters' survey predicts the pay freeze will continue as university leavers feel the full force of the economic downturn.

Based on a poll of recruiters, the survey says graduates of 2009-2010 will experience a "double hit" of lower wages and higher university fees.

They are the first to pay three years worth of higher tuition fees.

Carl Gilleard, the association's chief executive, said the pay freeze "could not have come at a worse time for the current crop of graduates who are the first to enter the workplace with the daunting task of paying off three years of tuition fees ahead of them".

'Don't continue studies'

He added that those with jobs in banking, finance and law would be somewhat cushioned, but that graduates starting out in the public sectors and charities would "really feel the pinch" this year.

Vacancy rates for graduates also fell - but not by as much as had been predicted.

In 2009, graduate vacancies dropped 8.9% rather than the 24.9% predicted.

The AGR said these figures compared favourably with employment statistics overall and suggested graduate recruitment was beginning to emerge from the recession.

Employers in banking and financial services were most optimistic about jobs, although increases were also predicted in oil companies and consulting.

Cuts were forecast in the public sector and transport, with many employers blaming the recession.

Firms "strongly advised" graduates to take temporary jobs, training courses or even unpaid work if they could not find employment, rather than continue with their studies or taking a gap year.

Sonja Stockton, head of recruitment at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said: "Graduates entering the market need to be open-minded, about locations, about roles, and naturally about pay.

"They've switched on to employability skills, but so too have employers and as a result the bar has been raised in competition for places."

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