Big boost for graduate job market

A new report on the graduate job market shows that recruitment at top UK employers is at the highest level for a decade

University students graduating in the summer of 2015 – including the first undergraduates to have paid tuition fees of up to £9,000-a-year for their degrees – will also be paid higher graduate salaries when they start work.

The Graduate Market in 2015 – a study of graduate vacancies and starting salaries at the country’s one hundred leading employers, conducted by High Fliers Research in December 2014 – confirms that employers increased their graduate recruitment by 7.9% in 2014 and are set to expand their vacancies for university-leavers by a further 8.1% in 2015. More than a quarter of graduate vacancies were cut in 2008 and 2009 at the beginning of the recession and recruitment dipped again in 2012, before returning to growth in 2013.

Employers in nine out of 13 major employment areas are preparing to take on more new graduates in 2015, with the biggest increases in recruitment at public sector employers, accounting and professional services firms, banking and finance firms, retailers and the Armed Forces, which together expect to recruit more than 1,200 extra graduates.

The median starting salary at the country’s leading employers will increase to £30,000 for this year’s new graduates.

The research also highlights that graduate employers are providing an unprecedented number of paid work experience places in 2015 for university students and recent graduates, through an extensive programme of paid internships, vacation work experience and industrial placements.

Managing director of High Fliers Research, Martin Birchall commented: “It’s great news that students leaving university this summer who’ve paid higher tuition fees for their degrees will be emerging into the most buoyant graduate job market for over a decade, with a wider choice of graduate vacancies at the country’s most sought-after employers and better starting salaries.

Report highlights

  • The number of graduates hired by the UK’s leading employers rose by 7.9% in 2014, the largest rise in four years.
  • The largest growth in graduate vacancies is at public sector employers, accounting and professional services firms, banking and finance firms, retailers and the Armed Forces.
  • The largest individual recruiters of graduates in 2015 will be Teach First (2,060 vacancies), PwC (1,570 vacancies) and Deloitte (1,100 vacancies).Graduate 
  • The most generous salaries in 2014 are those on offer from investment banks (median of £45,000), law firms (median of £40,000), banking & finance firms (median of £36,500) and oil & energy companies (median of £32,500).
  • There is little evidence that graduate starting salaries are rising in reaction to the introduction of higher university tuition fees – most organisations who have increased their graduate pay in 2014 or 2015 have done so in order to compete effectively with other graduate employers.
  • Over four-fifths of the UK’s leading graduate employers are offering paid work experience for students and graduates this year – with an unprecedented 13,049 paid placements available.

 

 

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