UK GRADUATE salaries have soared dramatically this year as the civil engineering industry skills shortage begins to bite (Ground Engineering April 2001), with increases of up to 15% being reported.
The lead has been taken by several of the UK's top consultants, where graduates with two to three years' experience can now expect their salaries to top £20,000.
Increases are substantially higher than in the past with many companies now realising that to retain their top graduates they must react to an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Annual rises of at least 8% are now a fair demand, a human resources manager for a leading UK consultant said.
'The situation has changed, and attitudes have changed. You have to sell yourself as an employer, ' explained Gibb associate director of corporate affairs Anne Cronin.'You're not doing people a favour any more.'
Gibb claims to have adopted a new positive strategy towards recruiting and retaining the right numbers and the right quality of graduates. The company is partnering key universities and is running its own module at the University of Leeds. Its attitude towards training has been recognised with accreditation as an Investors in People company.
Consultant Binnie Black & Veatch is also taking a positive stance, having decided, in consultation with its graduates, to completely restructure the graduate pay system.
'We saw the problem coming, and had to ensure that graduates with two to three years' experience aren't immediately overhauled by new graduates, ' said human resources director Mike Hannah.'We are now well up with the market.'
WS Atkins is also making positive moves in its approach to graduate recruitment. The firm shot up 64 places to 20th in this year's Top 100 Ideal Employer Rankings a list compiled by research company Universum from a survey of 5,500 final year graduates.Arup is in 74th place.
The Institution of Civil Engineers Graduates and Students Committee has long campaigned for more pay and responsibility.
'There is a feeling that the skills shortage is starting to make a difference, 'GSNC member Jim Bell said.'Graduates still feel underpaid for what they do. But with less experienced staff available, they are taking on more responsibility.'