Graduates enjoy growth market

July 19, 1996

The continued recovery in the graduate labour market is good news for the thousands of university students finishing their courses this month and starting the search for work.

An Association of Graduate Recruiters survey released last week indicates vacancies are almost 10 per cent higher than last year.

Tony Raban, head of the careers service at Cambridge University, agrees that prospects for graduate employment are good.

He says that the years of recession resulted in staffing gaps that now need filling and firms cannot afford to stay out of the recruitment market for long.

But Dr Raban points out that companies are much more selective about the graduates they hire. Many target the universities that produce the desired type of graduate and are generally taking on a smaller number of people, he says.

Both are true of Natwest UK, says the firm's graduate recruitment manager, Phil Cliff.

The bank operates stalls during graduate recruitment fairs at universities that produce the banking and finance graduates it prefers.

In the past, Mr Cliff says Natwest UK took on between 150 and 200 graduates annually, but a new recruitment scheme introduced this year has reduced the number to about 50.

Employing fewer, better quality graduates reflects a desire to groom them for executive positions, as well as ensuring their expectations are met, he explains.

Although companies are being more selective about the graduates they employ, Mr Cliff says there are still many jobs available.

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