Graduate jobs market improving but skills shortage remains

‘Buoyant market’ leads to unfilled posts

June 18, 2015

Around two-thirds of companies have unfilled graduate vacancies, with nearly a third claiming that candidates lack specific skills, a poll has found.

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, employers with vacancies have an average of 45 unfilled posts for 2015, with two-thirds of companies reporting at least one available graduate role.

Some 58 per cent of the 72 employers polled by the Association of Graduate Recruiters reported an increase in graduate hiring targets this year, suggesting a strong job market and going some way to explaining the number of unfilled posts.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the AGR, said: “The job market for graduates is buoyant…but students shouldn’t be complacent.”

He told Times Higher Education that half of employers said some graduate job candidates were “not thinking through their applications”. “For example, candidates aren’t really demonstrating why they’re applying to that particular role,” he said.

Most of the vacancies reported were in accountancy (27 per cent), followed by IT (26 per cent) and electrical/electronic engineering (20 per cent).

The findings, which were published at the same time as Office for National Statistics figures show a fall in unemployment of 43,000, paint an encouraging picture. But employers have also criticised complex work permit rules, claiming that they make it difficult to hire international students who have studied in the UK.

“Employers that are recruiting international students are finding that it’s much harder,” Mr Isherwood said. “We’re aware it is a contentious subject, but some of the language around visas harms universities. The reality is that it’s causing problems for employers.”

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