Investment banks are once again the top destination for student jobseekers. A survey of final-year students at 30 sought-after universities finds that among those already looking for jobs, investment banking is the most popular choice – with 8.5 per cent applying. Experts say that at least three banks are rumoured to be paying 50,000 pounds in starting salaries before bonuses. All of the banks were back on campus in the last twelve months, promoting themselves hard. Most of the best-known names of the City of London are recruiting at 2006-07 levels.
The revival of interest in banking has influenced students' views on pay. The class of 2011's expectations for starting salaries have risen to an average of 22,600 pounds, the first increase for three years. Finalists at the London School of Economics, Imperial College London, Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick and University College London have the highest hopes on pay, anticipating earnings of at least 25,000 pounds a year on graduation. After five years in work, graduates expect to be earning an average of 39,900 pounds. A sixth of this year's leavers even believe their salary will be 100,000 or more pounds by the age of 30.
While investment banking is the most popular sector among early applicants, media, teaching and marketing are expected to emerge as the most popular sectors when students who defer applying until finishing their exams begin sending out their CVs. Fewer students have applied for graduate positions in the police and the armed forces, while the number keen to work for the government or elsewhere in the public sector has dropped by a fifth. The exception is the National Health Service, which is attracting greater interest this year.