Firms bypass new universities

July 11, 1997

Job vacancies for graduates in 1997 are up by almost a fifth over last year, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters. But employers' confusion about degree standards and comparability means they shun new universities.

The AGR's graduate salaries and vacancies 1997 survey, published at its annual conference this week, found that graduate vacancies were up 18 per cent compared to 1996. Almost 300 AGR members plan to recruit 17,058 graduates during 1997.

Research from the Institute for Employment Studies has also found that more graduate employers are reporting recruitment problems. In 1995, 39 per cent of graduate employers reported difficulties, by 1996 this rose to 45 per cent.

The AGR blames "expansion and diversification" for the problems. There are an average 87 applications for each vacancy. "Firms must sift an increasing number of applications, attempting to assess graduate quality without full information about the comparability of standards," the report said.

Over 60 per cent of firms targeted a limited number of universities, which were "mainly traditional and well established with high academic entry criteria". Over 50 per cent were recruiting on the basis of course content.

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