Aldi management posts are UK's highest-paid grad roles at £42K

12 January 2015 -


Entry-level jobs market is most buoyant for 10 years, as Britain’s top employers boost starting salaries and publish thousands of vacancies

Jermaine Haughton

Graduate junior managers at discount retailer Aldi will be among the highest entry-level earners this year, with a new report showing that post-university recruitment at Britain’s top firms is set to reach its highest level for more than a decade. Published today by High Fliers Research, The Graduate Market in 2015 report says that across industries, more job opportunities are going to be available to young workers than at any other time since 2005 – and at higher salaries.

Aldi’s £42,000 offering for store managers makes it the highest graduate pay packet to be published in the UK, with roles at the European Commission not far behind (£41,500). Last year, Aldi’s head of graduate recruitment James Hutcheson said that the company had increased its number of area managers in 2014 by 15% year-on-year. On the evidence of the report, the growth of Aldi’s management roles looks set to continue, as long as the German outlet can maintain its steady UK expansion.

High Fliers’ report confirms that Britain’s one hundred leading employers are set to expand their vacancies for university leavers by 8.1% in 2015. Indeed, employers in nine out of 13 key employment areas are preparing to take on more new graduates this year, the report says. More than 1,200 extra graduates are expected to be recruited by public-sector employers, accounting and professional services firms, banking and finance firms, retailers and the Armed Forces.

That marks a significant change from previous years, such as 2008 and 2009, when more than a quarter of graduate vacancies were cut due to the onset of the recession. Best of all, the rising vacancies haven’t dampened salaries. In 2014, the median starting salary for graduates at the country’s leading firms increased by £1,000 to £30,000 – the first rise in five years. As such, this year’s graduates – including the first undergraduates to have paid tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year – are set to earn more than their predecessors. According to the report, most organisations have lifted their remuneration to compete effectively with other graduate employers.

For High Fliers managing director Martin Birchall, the study highlights an abundance of options. “It’s great news that students leaving university this summer who’ve paid higher tuition fees for their degrees will be emerging into the most buoyant graduate job market for over a decade,” he said, “with a wider choice of graduate vacancies at the country’s most sought-after employers and better starting salaries.”

He added: “And there is a record number of opportunities, too, for first- and second-year students to get paid work experience this year – Britain’s top employers will be providing more than 13,000 paid internships, vacation work or course-based placements in 2015.”

In terms of available roles, the largest individual graduate recruiters in 2015 will be Teach First (2,060 vacancies), PwC (1,570) and Deloitte (1,100). If it wasn’t for last-minute tweaks to employers’ vacancy targets and a rise in graduates turning down job offers, the report said, recruitment would have been even higher in 2014.

Universities minister Greg Clark said: “Confidence in the economy continues to grow, and this is reflected in the fact that Britain's top companies will recruit more graduates this year than they have for a decade. This report will be warmly welcomed by the record number of students who started university this year and highlights how a degree remains one of the best routes into a rewarding career.”

For those who are about to embark upon management careers, this forthcoming CMI seminar will offer a few hints on what to expect.

Image of Aldi sign courtesy of Rob d / Shutterstock.

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