Trend to tighter graduate targets

October 4, 1996

Graduate employers are getting "too choosy", according to the quarterly Graduate Salary and Vacancy Survey. Figures show that employers are targeting students more specifically than ever before.

The Survey, produced by the higher education careers services unit, reveals that more than half (53.9 per cent) of the 3,680 vacancies advertised in the fortnightly magazine Prospects Today during 1994-95 specified a preferred degree discipline, compared to 42.9 per cent the previous year.

It also shows that graduate employers are abandoning the traditional once-a-year milk round, preferring instead so-called "just-in-time" recruitment when students are hired in small batches as and when vacancies arise during the year.

Report author Bob Ward said the trend reflects the fact that employers get too many inappropriate applications. "Part of the difficulty in advertising in national publications is that vagueness about the person specification encourages all and sundry to apply," he said.

The CSU figures show that more than two-thirds (68.2 per cent) of advertisements called for specialists in science, engineering and technology subjects. Graduates with computer studies degrees were given highest priority by employers, with 9 per cent of all CSU advertised posts aimed at them. Business and management studies graduates were preferred for 7.1 per cent of jobs.

But Mr Ward warned that there was a danger that employers were becoming "too choosy", noting that "some employers are continuing to specify other less reliable criteria such as minimum A-level scores".

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