Employers offer nearly nine per cent more entry-level jobs for 2014
The number of graduate vacancies has increased by 11.6 per cent this year, returning the graduate jobs market to its pre-recession peak, according to a report.
Figures suggest a third of graduate employers have stepped up their recruitment in the last six months, contributing to the biggest increase in graduate vacancies for four years. This follows an unprecedented 23.3 per cent dip between 2007 and 2009.
Accounting and professional services firms, public sector employers and engineering and industrial companies lead the way, having expanded their graduate openings to more than 4,400, above 3,400 and more than 1,600 jobs respectively.
Based on a poll of 18,000 final year students, the High Fliers report also shows that for the first time in four years, the median starting salary for new graduates in 2014 has increased to £29,500, with the most generous entry-level wage on offer from investment banks (£45,000) and law firms (£39,500).
Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, said it was “great news for the class of 2014 leaving university this summer that Britain’s top employers have stepped up their graduate recruitment so significantly this year”.
According to the report, The Graduate Market in 2014, two thirds of employers now provide paid vacation internships for penultimate year students; three-fifths offer industrial placements for undergraduates, and increasing numbers of employers offer work experience places for first year undergraduates.
This is reflective of the findings from the People Management feature on graduate recruitment, which found that more and more employers are looking to “hook” graduates much earlier in their career.
More than half the recruiters who took part in the research suggested that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process, and the proportion of new graduates recruited directly through employers’ work experience programmes has jumped from 26 per cent in 2010 to a record 37 per cent in 2014.
However, figures show competition for places remains high with an average of 39 applicants for every graduate vacancy.
Office for National Statistics figures also suggest that graduate numbers have increased by 85,000 to 365,000 since 2007, which means there will have to be a sustained increase in the number of graduate-level jobs to place the higher number of degree-holders looking for work.
More than two-thirds of employers said they plan to hire a similar number of graduates or expand their recruitment further in 2015.