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5 graduate careers that will earn you most money after uni

Finding a job after university can be tougher than some of your exams! Here are the postgraduate careers that pay the best wages, which are recruiting the most graduates and what you will need to get those jobs.

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Finding decent job opportunities after university can seem daunting, with dozens of graduates fighting for each of those graduate positions.

That is why it is important to target the jobs you really want so you can prepare properly and have a decent chance of applying successfully.

What is the average graduate salary?

The average graduate starting salary in 2014-2015 was £28,000 according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) - up £1,000 from 2013-14.

The survey shows that London still attracts the highest starting salaries at £28,500, with the North East having the lowest at £24,500.

With limited graduate schemes available however, the real average salary is less than £20,000, with most graduates getting "normal" jobs rather than entering graduate training schemes.

Some new graduates even have to start on minimum wage, or with unpaid internships and volunteering to gain experience and prove themselves to an employer.

Lots of employers only ever offer graduate jobs if you have already done work experience with them. This is great if your course included a sandwich year in a relevant role, but not so good if you find yourself having to work for free to get experience in your desired industry. On average, employers are converting 44.56% of their interns into graduate hires.

To know how to get a good job after university, you will need to consider what your degree and experience might suit, which industries are taking on graduates, and which careers pay the most.

What are the top jobs for graduates in the UK?

Some of the top business sectors for graduate salaries are as follows:

Investment banking and fund managers

Average starting wage: £43,500

Investment banking is still the best-paid graduate career. The role can cover a range of financial services including management of investments, shares, lending and corporate finance.

Employability: As well as being a tough industry to get into, you will almost certainly need to relocate to London if you are not there already.

Income prospects: Experienced investment bankers can earn basic wage of £150,000 - and infamously large bonuses too.

What degree do you need? Finance or economics degrees are one way into investment banking. These courses usually last a minimum of three years - longer if there's a work placement in the middle too, which can improve your chances of getting a job later.

However, a degree in maths, accountancy, and even physics or engineering can help. Business, management, computing and language degrees can be useful too.

Law firms

Average starting wage: £37,000

Solicitors can represent and support individuals, companies and other organisations dealing with a range of legal subjects, from criminal offences to employment law.

Employability: Although you will not be able to work as a full solicitor straight out of university, you can learn on the job and earn your stripes while working for a law firm.

Income prospects: Qualified solicitors can earn up to £75,000; partners in a firm can earn even more.

What degree do you need? You can complete a law degree, which usually takes three years. Alternatively you could study a different degree followed by the Common Professional Examination.

You will then need to complete the Legal Practice Course, which takes a year, followed by a two-year training contract with a firm of solicitors.

It is possible to become a solicitor without a degree if you have equivalent knowledge and skills gained through your career, especially if you work for a law firm. See the Law Society website for more details.

Banking and financial services

Average starting wage: £33,000

Jobs in financial services include working for a bank or as a financial adviser, covering financial products like savings accounts, mortgages, pensions, investments and more.

Employability: Although the salaries in the rest of the finance industry generally are not as high as those in investment banking, there are more job opportunities in a wider range of locations.

Income prospects: A qualified financial adviser could earn up to £45,000. Senior advisers and wealth managers can earn much more.

What degree do you need? Finance or economics are ideal; maths, business, accountancy, management and language degrees are also sought after too.

However, many firms will happily accept applicants with a different degree or none at all, as long as they have an interest in finance and the right experience, abilities and personality for the role.

IT and telecommunications

Average starting wage: £28,500

Careers in Information Technology can range from working for an IT firm, as part of another company's IT department, or even working for yourself.

Employability: The importance of computers in most industries has risen massively over the decades, so IT career options are wide and varied. However, many careers may involve irregular and antisocial working hours.

Income prospects: An information systems manager can expect to earn £40,000 and up.

What degree do you need? Information technology related degrees are unsurprisingly the most useful, for example in computer science, networking, database management or multimedia. They can be especially useful if combined with a subject like business management.

Energy, water and utilities companies

Average starting wage: £27,500

Employability: Jobs in the energy industry can range from selling, marketing and customer service to energy engineers who find ways to supply energy.

Income prospects: An experienced energy engineer could earn £35,000 or more.

What degree do you need? A technical job, such as an energy engineer, would require a science or engineering degree. There are even several specialist degrees available in energy engineering and sustainable energy.

What are the top 3 degrees for high paying jobs?

Is your degree likely to lead to a well-paid career? The Telegraph website named the following as the top 3 degrees by average lifetime salary:

1. Medicine and dentistry (average lifetime salary £41,624)

2. Architecture, building and planning (average lifetime salary £39,751)

3. Engineering (average lifetime salary £39,528)

Careers in demand

Science graduates are among the most valued in the UK. It is thought that the UK economy needs 100,000 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates a year.

However, there are only around 90,000 graduating per year, with many going into non-scientific roles, so there are plenty of attractive job opportunities if you have a STEM degree.

The UK Visa Bureau website lists engineering, healthcare, arts and entertainment and teaching as industries in high demand in the UK.

Even if you think your degree does not fit with any of those careers, you can become a teacher if you get a PGCE afterwards, which you can study for in a year.

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