100,000 graduates looking for work as employers raise the bar

Graduate unemployment is expected to top 100,000 this week as employers increase their entrance requirements for university leavers to cope with rising demand for jobs.

Official figures to be released on Wednesday are expected to reveal that the number of jobless under-25s has passed one million, up from 946,000 in August, with 8% of under-25s with a degree now unemployed.

With so many graduates in the jobs market employers have admitted raising the bar for entry to ensure that they secure the best candidates, the Times reported.

Sainsbury’s has joined elite City firms in announcing that it will not accept any entrants to its graduate programme with a degree below 2:1.

The accountancy firm KPMG now demands that graduates have at least an A and two Bs at A-level, rather than the three Bs it required in 2008, while the management consultancy company Accenture has raised the A-level grades threshold that graduate applicants must reach from one A and two Bs, to two As and one B.

Julia Harvie-Liddel, recruitment director for Accenture UK and Ireland, said: “We’ve done that to manage the volume of applications.”

This year budget retailer Aldi, received 22,000 CVs for 130 graduate places and PriceWaterhouseCoopers saw a 35% increase in graduate applications with 12,000 vying for 1,000 jobs.

David Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, called for the suspension of national insurance contributions for employees under 25 and subsidies for employing young people.

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