A league table of graduate recruiters compiled by The Complete University Guide shows pharmaceutical and retail group Boots was top in 2011 and was the only organisation to fill more than 500 graduate-level posts (550). PricewaterhouseCoopers was the second-largest employer of graduates with 485 positions filled.
The table, dominated by the private sector, also shows the NHS slipping from second place in 2010 to fourth place in 2011 with 420 posts filled (excluding doctors, dentists and nurses).
The second-highest public sector recruiter after the NHS was the Army, placing 12th with 170 graduate jobs filled.
Financial services accounted for seven of the top ten recruiters. After PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte was in third place in the table with 445 graduate-level post filled.
The retail industry's largest recruiter was Tesco, who fell from sixth to ninth place, filling 260 positions.
Accenture and IBM, 2010's highest-placed technology companies, slipped slightly this year while Sky made a dramatic rise from 87th to 34th with 75 graduate jobs filled.
The biggest graduate employer not in the health, finance, retail or service sector was Jaguar Land Rover, rising from 44th in 2010 to 12th with a graduate intake of 170. BAE Systems was the next highest manufacturing employer placed at 16th just ahead of Rolls-Royce which moved up once place to 17th.
The only local authorities in the top 100 were Kent County Council and Birmingham City Council. However, in keeping with other local authorities, recruitment of graduates fell over the two-year period covered by the data.
Bernard Kingston, principal author of The Complete University Guide, said the data offered the "clearest picture yet of the organisations that recruit graduates, and the pattern of recruitment by region".
The figures were compiled by analysing data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency's 2010-11 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. They do not include doctors, dentists and nurses, who almost always seek employment in the NHS.