A very good question. I started at 24k after uni in my first job at Cambridge. Soon after an year it went up to 26k in the same job. In Oxford, I made around 34k in my second job. Now I’m in India, although I can’t directly compare, I make an equivalent of about 45k an year.. Airbus is a huge organisation and I’m in the chief technology research department and my boss’s boss is the CTO (chief technology officer) so the salaries are typically higher. This is my third job after uni.
Engineering can land you many glamorous things and one of those is a good salary. Keep your research about engineering going.
In UK, I started off around 26k as a research assistant (a researcher without PhD, as I was working on it back then). In academia salary increases are more or less guaranteed every year until a maximum (then you need to have a PhD or became a lecturer).
At the end of my contract I was around 28k, and my entry salary as engineer was 33k, which I negotiated to increase to 35k after 3 months as I had another offer on the plate. In this company, salaries are increased a little bit year by year if you performed well and now I am a bit less than 39k, which is below the average as my lack of knowledge of UK job market and my complicated background as a researcher (normally researchers became research engineers, not software engineers) made difficult for me to conduct a negotiation.
My advice on this is, if possible, do as many interviews as you can and aim to get two offers from two employers. At that point, put them one against each other, if they really want you they will increase the initial salary as in an auction. Once the initial salary is set, it increases very slowly, so it is important to get it good (a graduate is likely to have less choices unfortunately). You can negotiate a higher salary at some point but it is easier to change employer in my opinion. Last remark is, academic jobs have a lower salary than industry despite having more responsibilities, make sure to point it out to a non-academic employer shall you switch in the middle.