What starting salary should a graduate in the public sector be looking for?

Find out what you can earn on a graduate scheme in the UK public sector.

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Starting salaries on graduate schemes in the public sector range from around £17,000 up to around £30,000. The highest wages on offer tend to include London weighting, while salaries for roles based away from the capital are typically lower. Several of the following schemes come with a starting salary of more than £27,000.

Graduate starting salaries within government departments

One of the more popular entry routes into the public sector for graduates is the Civil Service Fast Stream . Earnings vary from programme to programme, but in general graduates can expect to be paid in the region of £28,000–£32,000 upon being hired.

Further governmental offices run their own programmes, all of which have their own pay scales.

  • HM Revenue & Customs hires graduates via its tax professional programme. Graduates earn a minimum of £30,880, rising to £35,105 if they are based in London. A guaranteed minimum salary applies after completing the scheme: £51,050 (national); £57,440 in London.
  • Graduates can be hired by the Intellectual Property Office as patent examiners. £29,061 for most areas of expertise, and £33,101 for telecommunications.
  • Salaries at the National Audit Office vary depending upon your location: graduates training in London start on a salary of £29,978 while those in the Newcastle office are currently paid £23,969.
  • The Government Legal Profession (GLP) will pay its trainee lawyers around £28,000 in the first year (£32,000 in the second year of training contract or pupillage).
  • The Forestry Commission graduate management programme pays graduate hires £25,294.

Local government starting salaries for graduates

There are two ways of getting into local government if a graduate scheme is what you’re after: the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) and graduate schemes with individual county councils. The NGDP offers graduates a salary of £25,991.

There are several more individual programmes within county councils; many of these are focused on finance or engineering roles, and have their own pay scales. For example, Kent County Council offers three streams – all with a starting salary of £25,238 – in transformation project management, compliance and risk, adult social care performance and finance.

Graduate salaries in national security: MI5

Starting salaries for graduates at GCHQ vary from role to role, but typically range from around £17,000 to £35,000, depending on skills and experience.

Salaries at MI5 vary depending upon the specific role. At the moment these include:

  • £31,807 for graduates on the intelligence officer development programme, and the intelligence and data analyst development programme, rising to £34,385 after the first year
  • £34,366 for the technology graduate development programme rising to £37,152 after one year

What do the NHS and Metropolitan Police Service pay graduates?

Alternatively, you may consider a career with the NHS . There are seven separate streams within the NHS graduate management scheme, six of which pay £24,628. The seventh, the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) Health Policy Fast Track Scheme, pays £28,966.

The Metropolitan Police Service Police Now graduate entry scheme offers pay of between £24,177 and £30,369, along with location allowances.

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