The UK’s highest paying executive graduate roles

The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers has published its annual list of the highest paying graduate jobs of 2015. All of the companies train fresh, budding graduates and aim to transform them into top executives. Here are the ten companies that pay the highest salaries and offer the best benefits.


  • 1. Aldi
  • The company pays its graduate employees a starting salary of £42,000 – a figure which rises to £70,000 after just three years. On top of that, graduates are given an Audi! The benefits are appealing, but the recruitment process is tough.


  • 2. European Commission
  • The starting salary is £41,500 and additional benefits include international travel and language courses in Europe’s official languages.


  • 3. Lidl
  • As well as a company car, graduates can expect a £38,000 starting salary.


  • 4. Clifford Chance
  • This multinational law firm offers a starting salary of £42,000, which rises to £70,000 for fully qualified lawyers. Other perks include a gym membership and dental plan.


  • 5. Newton Europe
  • This firm gives graduates an immediate £3,000 sign on bonus, a company car and an annual salary of £39,000.


  • 6. Exxon Mobil
  • With 33 days holiday per year and a private healthcare programme, this multinational oil and gas company has a starting salary of £37,500, which rises to £42,000 if you have a PhD.


  • 7. Microsoft
  • This company provides a handy 10% off products at selected times of the year, medical cover and a starting salary of £34,700.


  • 8. Unilever
  • Impressively, this firm offers flexible working, health insurance and performance-based bonuses. Graduates can expect a starting salary of £30,000.


  • 9. BP
  • BP pays anywhere between £33,000-£40,000 and extra bonuses include an admirable sign on sum of £3,000-£5,000, vehicle discounts, gym facilities and a yearly bonus.


  • 10. Herbert Smith Freehills
  • This international law firm pays £42,000.


    Some of these figures are astounding, but it is noteworthy that almost all of these companies have a stringent testing system in place, including initial application forms, verbal and numerical reasoning tests, psychometric tests, phone interviews and face-to-face interviews. Successful applicants are usually from the UK’s top universities, and standard requirements include at least an upper second class in undergraduate degrees.


    It is interesting that executive roles are expanding to include much more than management in retail, marketing and finance. The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers list also includes companies like Teach First, which ranks as the UK’s fourth top graduate employee. It’s an organisation that pays UK graduates to become qualified teachers, training them in leadership as they gain their PGCE. Successful graduates of the programme have left teaching and gone into executive or high-level positions in banking, retail, and government.


    Other top employees include the BBC, Google, KMPG and the NHS.

    Written by

    Cambridge University graduate and professional career sector writer.

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