The world is your oyster when you’re deciding what career path to follow and making the right decision early on can lead you to a high-paying job. Whether you have just finished university and looking for a graduate position or you’re doing a little research before you even decide what you want to study, these top graduate roles will help you decide what route you should be taking if you want the highest paid entry-level job.
10. Recruitment consultant
What they do: Recruitment consultants are, essentially, the people help jobseekers find a suitable position in accordance with their skills, education and personality, ensuring they’re a good culture fit for their client. Daily tasks involve numerous interviews with candidates, countless calls with organisations and lots of administrative duties.
What they earn: Although this job can be very demanding, the average starting salary in the UK ranges between £18,000 and £22,000, with the opportunity to gain heaps of commission on top of that. In the US, annual salaries start at $37,000 and go up to $47,000.
How to become one: You will, ideally, need a bachelor’s degree, although many recruiters haven’t completed any form of higher education and simply jumped straight into the working world.
9. Management trainee
What they do: This wide title can vary across a number of different industries and professions. You could manage a construction site, a supermarket chain or your favourite retail store – the choice is entirely yours. The one common factor is having the skillset to be a figure of authority and ensuring operations run smoothly.
What they earn: Salaries range between £17,000 and £19,000 in the UK. For the US, the average pay is $38,000-$63,000.
How to become one: In order to become a management trainee, you’ll need to complete a number of courses that will help build your skills and judgement. A business management university degree will be beneficial and will help you secure a place on a graduate programme.
8. Structural engineer
What they do: Structural engineers are responsible for designing and developing the skeleton of a building. They must make precise calculations, review the work of their colleagues and oversee the plan of action.
What they earn: In the UK, they tend to earn between £26,000 and £33,000 as a starting salary, while in the US, these engineers earn $49,000 to $66,000.
How to become one: You’ll usually need a degree or postgraduate degree in civil engineering. You could also complete a HNC or HND in an engineering subject to become a fully qualified structural engineer.
7. Civil engineer
What they do: Similar to structural engineers, civil engineers are involved in the design, production and completion stage of the projects they undertake. Generally speaking, they oversee the whole construction project from start to finish. Graduates should have the skill to create innovative sites that are also pragmatic.
What they earn: These kind of engineers start off on a salary of £25,000-£30,000, and $53,000–$68,000 in the US.
How to become one: A bachelor’s degree is essential in order to qualify as a civil engineer. Many graduates also continue their education and study a master’s before entering into full-time employment.
What they do: The banking world is one filled with fancy suits, high salaries and a fast-paced work environment. If you are financially inclined and love the hustle and bustle of the city, being an analyst is a perfect choice for you.
What they earn: Analysts typically earn £25,000-£40,000 ($47,000 - $70,000 for the US) once they graduate.
How to become one: The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related subject; this could be business administration, economics or accounting. Analysts who want to further their career tend to do a postgraduate degree in finance or business administration.
5. Mechanical engineer
What they do: If you’ve grown up watching Top Gear and Formula 1, and have been fascinated by the mechanics of the vehicles, a career in mechanical engineer was made for you. ‘An understanding of kinematics and thermodynamics form the basis of the discipline — not easy stuff,’ says Matthew Nitch Smith.
What they earn: Starting salaries range from £25,000 to £34,000 for UK graduates. In the US, a wage of $58,000 to $73,000 is to be expected.
How to become one: A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is necessary if you want to follow this career path.
What they do: Offering advice and business know-how to companies and clients will earn you a decent income. For example, you could become an expert trainer and advise clients on how to train their own staff members.
What they earn: Consultants generally earn £25,000 to £42,000 when starting off in the UK. In the US, $51,000 to $75,000 is a normal starting salary.
How to become one: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field, as well as further training and development in the industry you want to tackle.
What they do: A general engineer can be involved in construction sites through to electronical gadgets. If you know you want to develop something but are unsure of the industry, this path would be a safe one to take.
What they earn: Engineers at the beginning of their career start on a salary of £24,000 to £33,000, depending on the industry and area. In the US, they typically earn between $55,000 and $77,000.
How to become one: You will need to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
2. Software developer
What they do: Software developers are the masterminds behind all the latest gadgets, products, websites and video games. If you want to develop something amazing, programming and coding could be the best profession for you. Software developers are in high demand and employed by tech giants like Amazon and Google, and even the top banks.
What they earn: Working in this in-demand career, you’ll start off on a salary of £26,000-£39,000 in the UK and $59,000-$79,000 in the US.
How to become one: You’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree in software engineering. It’ll be ideal to apply for a number of graduate schemes if you want to get one foot in the door at your favourite tech firm.
1. Software engineer
What they do: Another popular tech role is software engineering. These geniuses are responsible for developing, testing and evaluating the software that makes our computers work. This could be creating new computer games, hardware for PCs or entirely new software systems.
What they earn: Software engineers typically earn £26,000-£37,000 in the UK. US engineers usually earn $69,000-$104,000.
How to become one: You’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field. Some employers do prefer a postgraduate degree, too.
Although money isn’t everything, these top 10 graduate careers can help you put your ideas into perspective and find a profession that will give you the ideal work-life balance.
Are you currently studying in one of these fields or applying for a similar degree? Maybe you are already working in the field and want to share your experience with others? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by Glassdoor. All salaries vary depending on experience, employer, location and industry, and reflect potential earnings in entry to mid-level jobs.