What Should You Pay Graduates?


If you, like many other recruitment agencies, are planning on adding more graduates to your workforce, one of the vital things to consider is what you should pay them in their first year. 

Basic salary

Graduates interested in recruitment are often very motivated by money. So, it’s important to offer graduates an attractive basic salary to ensure they are not disheartened when they don’t make placements and earn any commission in their first few months. 

From our experiences, the basic salaries for graduate recruitment roles in London range from £20,000 to £25,000. We estimate that most agencies pay towards the lower end at around £21,000.


The probationary period should last between 3 and 6 months. However, most recruitment agencies won’t offer a graduate an increase in wage when they pass probation. 

First pay increase

When you want to reward a graduate hire for a successful first year or offer them more responsibilities with a promotion you need to consider what a fair salary increase is. We believe that it is important to base this increase on the targets you set them. 

A common equation to get this right is to increase their salary by around 10%, depending on how much commission they earn. 


If you offer the rest of your team annual or quarterly bonuses it is important to reward graduate hires in the same way. A common way to calculate a bonus is to offer 33% of the total amount of revenue they have bought into the company. 

At Key Focus, we typically help our clients define these numbers to make sure their graduate hires are attracted and remunerated fairly to bring the best out in them.

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