Graduate job market predicted to be buoyant

Graduate vacancies are predicted to rise by almost 12 per cent in 2015, according to a biannual survey of the graduate jobs market

January 27, 2015

Candidates waiting for a job interview

Source: Shutterstock

The figures released today by the Association of Graduate Recruiters predict continued growth in jobs after an increase in vacancies of 4.3 per cent last year.

The rise comes despite worries from some employers that graduates are still lacking important technical and professional skills.

The IT and telecoms sector are predicting the largest growth in vacancies, with 26.9 per cent of members confident of a rise in graduate positions, followed by the public sector, construction and engineering.

The survey of more than 200 AGR members also found that employers had 1,422 unfilled vacancies in 2014, with 44.8 per cent of firms having unfilled graduate positions in 2013-14.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the AGR, said: “Graduate vacancies continue to grow year on year and graduates are still more likely to be employed than non-graduates.

“But tensions persist. Employers would have recruited more graduates, over 1,400 more, if they could have found enough candidates with the right mix of skills.”

The report stresses the continued importance of work experience and internships for graduates, with more than a quarter of roles filled by people who had worked for the same employer.

Mr Isherwood suggested that candidates who had undertaken placements were better placed due to an understanding of the skills needed in the workplace, stating “the importance of work experience cannot be stressed to students enough”.

The largest sector for graduate recruitment remained the accountancy and professional services sector, which had 22.2 per cent of graduate vacancies in 2013-14, with the public sector recruiting 13.3 per cent followed by the engineering sector (12.7 per cent).

An increased number of AGR members also reported offering school-leaver recruitment programmes. In all, 72.7 per cent of members planned to offer such programmes in 2014-15, up from 54.7 per cent in 2012-13.

With more recruiters targeting school-leavers there is a suggestion of a changing approach to incorporate the schools market into recruitment strategies.

Mr Isherwood said: “More employers engaging with the schools market is a good thing. It means employers are thinking more holistically about their talent strategies. It also means a greater variety of opportunities for young people.”

The findings from the AGR also appear to show a sustained sense of optimism among recruiters that the first cohort of £9,000-fee graduates will be entering a strengthening jobs market in 2015, as was also suggested by a survey from High Fliers Research earlier this month.

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