As confidence in the graduate employment market improves, it’s vital that students are given realistic information about their career prospects, says the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU).

Charlie Ball, deputy research director at HECSU says: “Through our links with careers services and employers as well as students and graduates, we can see that the graduate labour market is improving. We are seeing more companies advertising for graduates than a year ago and these early signs of recovery are being picked up by students, making them feel more optimistic and confident about their career prospects.”

High Fliers’ latest research1 supports this renewed confidence, with expected graduate starting salaries rising for the first time in three years to an average of £22,600, and a sixth anticipating that they will earn more than £100,000 by the time they reach the age of 30.

Ball adds: “This is a good sign, but the economy remains fragile and it’s vital that we all remain realistic, erring on the side of caution particularly when it comes to salary expectations. We must bear in mind that the High Fliers survey represents just a small group of students and universities, and real graduate starting salaries have only increased marginally since the recession began. There isn’t any sign that things are going to change significantly this year. Students should expect the average starting salary to remain around £20,000.

“The findings are encouraging, but we should all make sure that students are given realistic information about their career prospects and that we don’t inflate expectations.”