Employers putting graduate jobs on hold

November 2, 2001

A quarter of employers have decreased their targeted graduate vacancies in the face of an uncertain global economy, a national survey has found, writes Tony Tysome.

Fears of an impending recession have helped reduce the number of graduate vacancies by 5.5 per cent since July, according to a report on the findings compiled by the Institute for Employment Studies and commissioned by the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

The report, Graduate Recruitment in an Uncertain Labour Market , says that one in five out of 66 AGR member employers surveyed said it had deferred graduate posts for an average of 12 months, while one in ten had withdrawn graduate job offers.

The most common reason given by employers for reducing graduate recruitment was the economic climate. Contributing factors included the impact of the terrorist attack in the United States, but since the information collected covers the past 12 months, other issues such as a decline in the manufacturing sector may have had more influence on the results.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "Employers are having to make tough decisions; withdrawing job offers is only used as a last resort. The deferment approach appears to be gaining in popularity, and while it is not ideal, it does help companies to maintain a return on their investment and soften the blow for the graduate."

The survey found that the services sector has made the biggest cutbacks, with 33 per cent of employers in this category reducing their number of graduate vacancies. Financial and legal firms were the most stable.

* A study to be published next week has found that 81 per cent of accountancy graduates get a job immediately after university, compared with 68 per cent of all graduates.

The study, What Do Graduates Do? , is launched at a conference on Monday, hosted by the Careers Services Unit, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services.

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