Graduates can expect to earn an average of £20,500 - up £1,800 from a year ago - with the highest starting salaries up 8% to £24,500.
Employers are also offering a raft of other benefits to attract the best graduates. One in six offer annual bonuses, more than a third offer share options and 16% offer golden hellos, according to a survey by research company GTI.
However, companies are choosing graduates more carefully than in the past, the survey of 64 IT employers revealed. The chances of a graduate getting an interview for an IT job fell from one in seven to one in nine during 2001.
Companies are increasingly demanding that graduates demonstrate their skills during interview, 64% ask candidates to participate in group exercises, and 56% ask candidates to give presentations to a panel.
Despite the slowdown in IT spending, employers predict that the number of IT vacancies will increase during 2002 as they seek to maintain and develop their existing IT systems.