Graduate fears unfounded as job opportunites increase

Fears that the ever greater number of graduates coming out of university would leave many out of work are unfounded, according to new research from employment analysts Income Data Services (IDS).

Pay and Progression for Graduates 2006, a report based on information from 100 named graduate recruiters, found that the overall number of graduates employed by both private and public sector organisations rose by 7.2% in 2005.

The outlook looks equally bright for the coming year as employers are planning to increase their overall graduate intake by a further 6% in 2006 on the basis of current expectations.

However, the higher demand does not look like it will push up starting salaries. Pay packets being offered to first-degree graduates have only modestly increased.

Steve Tatton, editor of the report, said: “There seem to be enough jobs around for new graduates and employers can recruit candidates capable of producing future prosperity.”

But the problem of graduates leaving university with the right skills is still a major worry, with 35% of employers saying graduates were lacking certain skills.

Nearly half of respondents said that “business awareness” was a major weakness among potential recruits.

The key findings of the report include:

  • the highest reported intake in 2005 was in the service sector, where 14.9% more graduates were taken on than in 2004
  • the largest growth areas in 2006 are in finance and manufacturing, with 16.6% and 16.5% increases forecast respectively
  • starting salaries for first-degree graduates rose by an average 3.4%, while in 2006 they are expected to increase by an average 3.3%
  • the average starting salary for first-degree graduates in 2005 was £21,415
  • the forecast average starting salary in 2006 is £21,688.

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