Vacancies and budgets have increased at top graduate-recruiting firms, with median starting salaries hitting £30,000 for the first time, a recent study into the market has shown.

The report, published by High Fliers, found more opportunities this year mean that graduate recruitment has overtaken its pre-recession peak in 2007. It found that in 2015 there will be the highest number of graduate vacancies than at any time in the last decade.

Last year saw an increase of 7.9 per cent in the number of graduates hired by Times Top 100 Graduate Employers – corporations which offer the highest average starting salaries at approximately £30,000. Entry places will rise further this year by 8.1 per cent, with the country’s leading organisations increasing their budgets for graduate recruitment.

The fact that 700 places across all organisations were left unfilled despite high demand is said to indicate a positive environment for those who left university this summer.The universities most targeted by prospective employers are Cambridge, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Warwick, and the largest graduate recruiters over the next year will be Teach First, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, each offering over 1,000 places.

Banking and law currently offer the highest median salaries, which hover around the £40,000 mark. However, increasing wages can be found across a range of sectors. More than a quarter of top graduate programmes will offer £35,000 and above. The highest starting graduate salary is offered by supermarket chain Aldi, who pay an average of £42,000 to their trainee managers, as well as offering an Audi company car. Increases in graduate salaries do not reflect increased tuition fees, but are said to demonstrate increased confidence among corporations in the UK’s economic recovery.

The report also emphasises how internships and work experience have become vitally important to the recruitment process, with an “unprecedented” 13,049 paid positions available this year. Nearly half of recruiters surveyed, however, warned that graduates completely lacking work experience were unlikely to obtain a position on their summer programmes, and have “little or no chance” of receiving a job offer.