Science & Information Technology (IT) Careers Opportunities & Development Advice Guidance - Information & News From Your Career Guide

Your Career In Science and IT

What will you earn?

The latest issue of Prospects Directory ( reveals that the average starting salary offered to graduates is £24,048 and the median salary is £23,500. Overall, salaries range from £14,732 to £39,000.

However, these figures are for all graduates and come with something of a health warning: they are mainly compiled from figures supplied by large companies and organisations. In addition, many of the vacancies used in the figures are London-based, where salaries are on the whole higher than other regions anyway.

A more accurate guide to the Science and IT situation is provided by the latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) figures from its Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. This shows that the average graduate salary now stands at £18,501. The good news here is that both Science and IT graduates fair better than most other graduates in the overall salary range. Science professionals average £18,765, with information and communication technology professionals on £21,277. IT service delivery occupations average £17,670. Health professionals topped the survey, averaging over £25,000, while graduates working in hospitality and leisure services were bottom with an average salary just below £16,000.

To find out what is really happening out there, the best bet is to keep an eye on the jobs advertised in relevant magazines, newspapers and the online recruitment agencies such as Reed ( and Science Prospects (

For science graduates, a typical trawl will bring up a huge spread of opportunities, with an ever bigger spread of potential salaries. Recently advertised jobs include:

*£16,000-£17,000 for a chemistry graduate to work as a drug metabolites analyst for a Manchester-based lab analysis company.

*£18,000-£20,000 for a biology or chemistry graduate to work in technical support for a scientific equipment manufacturer in the South East.

*£19,000-£21,000 for a food science graduate to help a company in the South East launch new cereal, rice and pasta products.

*£20,000-£23,000 for a physics graduate to work with a company in East Anglia that designs industrial sensing system

*£20,000-£25,000 for an environmental science graduate to work with a risk, safety and environmental consultancy based in the South.

*£20,000-£26,000 for a physics or chemistry graduate to work with a plasma processing company in the South East.

*£22,000-£23,000 for a food science graduate to work in franchise devlopment for a major frozen food manufacuter in the South.

And the salary spread is even wider when it comes to IT graduates. For example:

*£16,000-£18,000 for a graduate trainee for IT sales in the South.

*£18,000-£20,000 for an IT support company based in London.

*£20,000 to work in quality assurance for a Cambridgeshire-based software development company.

£20,000-£24,000 to work as a software engineer on military simulation and training packages in the South West.

*£28,000 for trainee applications consultants based in the South East.

One thing that most salary surveys do agree on is that there is unlikely to be any serious increases in graduate pay in 2009, with both Incomes Data Services (IDS) ( and the AGR predicting that salaries will either be frozen, or enjoy just cost-of-living rises. 

The UK government has hailed these salary figures as showing that a university degree is a great way to get a good, well-paid job and to get on in life. It points out that Science and IT graduates will easily earn £100,000 more (at today’s prices) over their lifetime compared with somebody who just has A-levels.