UK Graduates Are Now Prioritising Higher-Paying Careers

As people in the UK continue to battle with the cost-of-living crisis, new research reveals that a large number of UK graduates are choosing jobs based on their salary, rather than their career progression options.

This shift is being attributed to the inflated cost of living, which makes it difficult for young people to become financially stable and fund their futures.


A Surge In Job Shifts


Recent research by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) shows a real change in the behaviour of new grads entering the workforce. According to the ISE, there has been an increase in the number of grads and apprentices that have left their initial jobs due to pay.

This trend has continued to rise over the years, with 40% in 2022 and 2023 leaving their jobs due to pay, increasing to 50% this year.


The Driving Force: Tough Economic Outlook


This trend is largely unsurprising as the UK is currently facing economic challenges fuelled by high inflation rates and an expensive cost of living.

This not only has implications on everyday spending, but also on young people’s ability to save money for the future.

In fact, research by Senior Capital, a leading retirement asset platform in the UK, reports that 35% of Brits are currently unable to fund their retirement, due to high everyday costs.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has also predicted a a 1.5% decline in disposable household income per head in 2024. As a result of this, 32% of UK workers have stopped personal contributions to their pension pots, and 21% have had to postpone retirement plans according to Senior Capital.

The pressure not only produces a financial strain, but a psychological one too. 25% of people admit they are worried about funding their retirement, citing it as their greatest mental health burden. In addition to this, 37% of people say they are experiencing a lower quality of life due to financial strain.



The Link Between Financial Security And Wellbeing


Recent studies have shown the health benefits of financial security, especially in tough economic times.

Research by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute shows a strong correlation between financial difficulties and worse mental health issues. Their studies found that 86% of people with mental health problems said that their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse.

According to the ONS, people who are in arrears, or who find it hard to make their bill payments, report lower life satisfaction and higher anxiety than people in better financial situations.

Given the strong link between financial stability and mental wellbeing – it’s no surprise that so many young people are recognising well-paid jobs as a way to safeguard themselves against financial stress.


High-Paying Graduate Jobs


As financial pressures continue to mount for young people, grads are moving towards higher paid jobs.

These jobs sit across a variety of sectors, offering graduates healthy salaries. Though highly competitive and known to be sectors difficult for striking a work-life balance, these jobs are great options for young people looking for good training and a healthy pay check.

But what are they?


Investment Banking Analyst

With starting salaries often ranging between £50,000 and £60,000, investment banking is one of the most lucrative fields for UK graduates.


Trainee solicitors in London can expect to earn about £40,000, with potential increases as they qualify and gain experience.

Software Engineer

Starting salaries for software engineers can range from £35,000 to £50,000, depending on the company and location.


Management Consultant

New graduates entering consultancy can earn between £30,000 and £45,000 initially, with quick salary progression for high performers.



Starting salaries for graduate actuaries are typically around £30,000 to £40,000, with real growth potential.




The current UK economy has undoubtedly influenced the career choices of new graduates.

As they try to navigate these financially difficult times, the move towards higher-paying jobs allows them to ensure financial stability for now and the future.