Graduates are accepting lower salaries in insurance, and sometimes working for free

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It’s a tough time to be graduating in the UK, as the rise in unpaid apprenticeships and long-term internships demonstrates. Most students targeting the financial sector, however, still expect high rewards, but those working in insurance are sometimes doing so for no pay at all.

Insurance firms have always recruited fewer graduates than banks, but more recently structured programmes have started to emerge, even at smaller brokers. However, salaries at the junior end appear to be shrinking.

The latest salary survey by recruiters Robert Half shows a general upward trend for technical insurance roles. However, certain roles within claims and underwriting have declined slightly. This is the influence of cheaper graduate labour, says Andy Dallas, director, Robert Half Financial Services.

“At the moment UK graduates are struggling to get jobs. However, in a bid to get on the ladder, a number of technician roles are currently being taken up by cheap and occasionally free graduates willing to work hard and train,” he says. “This is affecting the salaries at the junior end of all roles.”

Generally, salaries are flat within most insurance roles this year, according to the Robert Half survey, but they have risen by a comparatively modest 4.6% for mid-level broking roles. An account executive should now expect £30-54.7k, suggests the research.

“We are seeing a huge increase from within marine and energy technical roles,” says Dallas. “With large hits over the last 19 months in international property and casualty areas, we believe 2013 will see a number of insurers investing in their growing marine and energy teams, giving them more of a balanced book.”

Here’s the complete list of salaries for insurance professionals:

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