Graduate vs. experience: The true cost of recruitment

Aug 10, 2018 | Digital marketing skills

Recruitment is an important part of any business and getting the balance between a higher paid experienced starter or the cost of training a graduate is crucial. New research looks into which candidates would be more beneficial to your company, highlighting resources such as training, and job expectancy in the IT and Media industry.

Employing new staff can be costly for a company’s assets. Putting aside their salary, there are also other costs to consider, as such as advertising, the selection process and training amongst others. has recently researched which candidates would be more beneficial to your company, highlighting resources such as training, and job expectancy in the IT and Media industry.

Key highlights include:

  • The Pay-Gap – Those in the Media and Advertising industry earn an average of £4,337 more after 3 years, while those in IT and Technology earn an average of £11,000 more after 3 years.
  • Getting Up To Speed – The IT and Technology sector devotes 21 weeks for training, while Media and Advertising receive just over 18.6 weeks.
  • Recruitment Costs – The ‘attraction and marketing’ costs involved in the Media and Advertising industry is £1,722, compared to £1,617 in the IT and Technology sector.

When searching for new employees, business owners face the dilemma of investing in the future with a graduate, or playing it safe with an experienced candidate. In terms of salary, the difference is an obvious factor, but what other considerations should an employer take when upping their headcount. have researched 5 key job sectors including accountancy, technology, retail, advertising and legal to look at the often overlooked aspects of recruitment. The findings include the average pension contribution being £6,865 per employee for the typical amount of time they spend in a role.

The Pay-Gap

Salary is the largest financial difference between graduates and experienced employees, but which industries offer the biggest incentive for loyal employees.

  • Graduates in the Media and Advertising industry averagely earn of £4,337 more after 3 years of experience, an average increase of over 22%.
  • Those in the IT and Technology industry earn an average of £11,000 more after 3 years, an increase of over 50%
  • The average starting salary across the 5 industries is £24,000 for graduates, which rises to a massive £35,700 after 3 years experience.


Onboarding employees can be a long and tedious process on both ends, but what is the actual cost involved?

  • The ‘attraction and marketing’ costs involved in the media and advertising industry is £1,617, while the “selection and assessment” cost tally up to £750.
  • The selection and assessment process is the more time-consuming, costing £1,181 per employee across all sectors
  • From marketing a job to assessing candidates, the combined total for businesses is an average of £3,356

Pension Contribution

Employers contribute an average of 3.2% of salary as part of pension schemes, so how does this impact your business as you recruit more staff?

  • With a huge starting salary, Law graduates cost their employers over £5,000 in the time they typically stay in the role in just pension contributions
  • Employees with 3 years experience spend an average of 6 years in a role and set employers back £6,865 during their time with a company

Ian Wright from has stated that: “Employees can offer so much to companies of any size, but it’s always important to consider the financial impact they have as well. Some business owners would rather train someone from scratch, almost like an investment, but the value of an experienced employee is that they can hit the ground running. While these are fairly obvious assumptions, it’s interesting to see the hard figures and how it varies across different industries.”

So whether you’re struggling to decide on  a suitable candidate for your business or possibly which career to go into next, you can view the  full breakdown and see how different key industries contrast here


To find average pay for both experienced employees and graduates, and Recruitment spends were taken from and Productivity statistics and job expectancy were taken from open source research studies. Pension contributions were formulated using the average contribution weighted against each average salary.

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