Big recruiters are anticipating better times ahead for ambitious graduate job- seekers, according to a study by Sussex University-based Institute of Employment Studies.
Companies are expecting a busy recruitment season, with graduate job vacancies likely to increase by almost 18 per cent this year. This is a significant rise, and for the first time in several years is higher than the rise in first-degree graduate output, which this year is expected to be around 10 per cent.
Graduate unemployment is also falling, with the proportion of graduates without employment six months after leaving university declining from 12.8 per cent in 1992 to 11.5 per cent in 1993.
But the IES, which is 25 years old this year, warns that the graduate labour market has been worsening. Over the past 25 years, first- degree graduate unemployment has averaged 7 per cent. The all-time low of 2.9 per cent occurred in 1972/73.
The report adds that 40 per cent of big recruiters report difficulties and their central complaint is that the self-starting graduate with appropriate academic and personal transferable or core skills is still a scarce commodity.
The IES study also confirms the growing trend for the number of graduate jobs to increase while the quality declines. Under-utilisation of graduate skills is emerging as a key issue in the 1990s. A recent survey found that 42 per cent of recent graduates said they were employed in temporary rather than career-oriented jobs. The financial services sector is cited as one where graduates are entering jobs which have traditionally been the preserve of school-leavers.
The IES Annual Graduate Review 1995-96, by G. Court, N. Jagger, H. Connor. IES Report 296, Pounds 25.00.