Firms look to future with intake of graduate talent

Many UK employers are continuing to invest in graduates despite the gloomy
business climate.

Research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows that although
employers predict a 4 per cent decrease for all vacancies for 2001/02, a
quarter of firms plan to increase their graduate intake by between one and 20
employees.

January 2002 Graduate Salaries & Vacancies Annual Review also finds a
further 5 per cent of employers are looking to increase graduate numbers by
between 22 and 150.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, believes employers are drawing on
experience of previous tight economic climates and are investing in graduate
recruitment to ensure they are ready for a recovery.

He said: "It is encouraging that some employers are maintaining their
graduate intake despite the economic climate.

"The lessons learnt in the early 1990s are clearly being taken on board
as employers recognise the dangers and cost implications of stopping graduate
programmes.

"The downturn is not affecting all industries and there are still
graduate jobs out there. But graduates need to be on the ball, flexible about
their choice of industry and clear about the skills employers are looking
for."

The highest predicted growth in graduate vacancies, at 20 per cent, is in
the retail, hotels and catering sectors.

The sharpest fall is predicted in the electronics and electrical engineering
sector, where more than half of companies expect to reduce the number of new
graduate jobs.

Graduate salaries are predicted to rise by an average 3.2 per cent for
2001/02, although this is significantly down on the rise of 5.1 per cent
between 1999/2000 and 2000/01.

The study shows that more than 40 per cent of the 178 AGR members polled
reported a recruitment shortfall last year, with an average of five unfilled
vacancies.

www.agr.org.uk

By Paul Nelson

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