Graduate vacancies and starting salaries to increase in 2013

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The number of graduate vacancies is predicted to rise by 9% in 2013, according to the latest survey carried out by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

The winter edition of the AGR’s twice-yearly research into graduate recruitment, released today, surveyed almost 200 AGR UK members across more than 20 sectors who recruited 19,350 graduates in 2012.

It found that graduate vacancies are expected to rise by 9% this year, following a drop of 8% that occurred in 2012. The AGR pointed out that this echoes the “push-pull” pattern seen in 2008 and 2009, during which the number of vacancies dipped and rose by 9% respectively.

The survey also found that the number of vacancies per employer will also rise, from an average of 98 to 109 vacancies per organisation.

In addition, it also predicted a small rise in graduate starting salaries - from £26,000 to £26,500. This follows years of stagnation, during which starting salaries remained at £25,000 from 2009 to 2011.

Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive, said: “The results indicate a renewed level of optimism among organisations for the year ahead. With the graduate job market inextricably linked to business confidence, it is reassuring to see that employers are committed to investing in graduate talent despite the backdrop of continuing global economic uncertainty.”

Gilleard added: “I appreciate that businesses, ever more so in the current climate, need to think very carefully about where to invest, and believe that where graduate schemes are concerned you really do get out what you put in. The difficult economic climate means that the ‘war for talent’ is more important than ever before, as organisations look to recruit and retain people who will give them a competitive edge, and we believe the continued rise predicted in starting salaries is a reflection of this.”

Respondents to the survey were also asked about the impact of apprenticeships and school-leaver programmes on graduate vacancies. The majority said these were for different roles within the organisation and were not a substitute for existing graduate roles, and therefore did not affect the number of graduates they were recruiting.

The survey found several reasons for introducing alternative talent programmes, including competition from other employers seeking to recruit talented school leavers and the potential impact of tuition fees on the graduate talent pool in future years.

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For information and data on graduate salaries, visit XpertHR.