18th January 2017

Students expect to work for less than minimum wage a year after graduating

UK students now graduate with far lower wage expectations than their parents, with more than one in seven (15%) expecting to work for less than the national minimum wage* a year after graduating, according to Endsleigh, the UK’s number one student insurance provider.

The survey of over 1800 students reveals that more than three quarters (76%) of UK students expect to be earning less than the national average salary (£26,500) in their first year after graduating. Furthermore, only one in fifty (2%) of students expect to earn over £30,000 or more in their first year after graduating, less than the one in thirty-three (3%) of students who expect to earn nothing at all.

However it doesn’t end with concerns about wages. Students want their work and study to overlap, with two thirds (66%) saying it is ‘very important’ to secure a job suitable to their new qualifications. Yet,  less than a third (30%) actually expect to be working full-time in their chosen career one year after graduating, highlighting a glaring disparity between the high ambitions of students entering university and the more realistic expectations of those leaving. 

Despite this sense of uncertainty, it seems students are responding pragmatically. More than one in five (22%) say they’re willing to compromise on the industry they want to work in to get a job, and one in four (25%) are taking matters into their own hands, stating they either currently own their own business or plan to in the future. 

This more flexible approach from graduates is understandable when you take into account several years of earning part-time or no income. With rising fees and the added pressure of student loans, there is an understandable period of uncertainty for many young people after graduating.  

Julia Alpan, Marketing Propositions Manager at Endsleigh says “The cliché of going to University and leaving with a guaranteed job offer is no longer a reality for many in such a competitive job market. It is encouraging to see so many bright young minds turning their hands to entrepreneurialism or demonstrating the flexible outlook to make it work in a changeable job market. 

Endsleigh was founded to ensure students would have access to fair insurance during their studies, but we know that finishing University does not mean young people no longer need financial protection. We are here to give young professionals the support they need whilst they find their feet after University and develop their careers.”






  • * Average hours worked a week in 2016 are 38.2, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Of which breakdown is found here: National Minimum Wage, according to ACAS.
  • 15% of students are paid less than £12,000 per annum
  • The national average salary figure is based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earnings and working hours LMSB SA AWE total pay WE £507, totally £26,364 per annum. 
  • The study has been undertaken 10-12 July 2016 in collaboration with the NUS Insight Team who surveyed 1,872 students.


About Endsleigh

Endsleigh is the trusted brand for student insurance, and the only insurance provider recommended by NUS. Originally founded in 1965 to serve the student market, Endsleigh has since broadened its products and services for graduates and professionals, as well as being the preferred insurance supplier for a variety of trade unions and professional organisations.

The company offers a wide range of services including motor, home and travel insurance. Wholly owned by Zurich Insurance Group since 2007, today the company also offers a wide range of insurance products and solutions for both students, graduates and professionals, as well as being the preferred insurance supplier for a variety of trade unions and professional organisations.

Products include motor, home and travel insurance as well as business insurance through Endsleigh’s Business team.