Graduate jobseekers face record competition

Applications for graduate jobs have hit a record high, with an average of 83 university leavers applying for each vacancy, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) biannual survey.

This high follows steady increases in applications for graduate jobs over the past three years, with the average number of applications per vacancy at 31 in 2008, 49 in 2009 and 69 in 2010.

However, there was some good news for university leavers, with the number of graduate vacancies predicted to rise by 2.6% this year, following an increase of 8.9% in 2010.

Starting salaries have also risen for the first time since 2008, with an average of £25,500 on offer, a rise of 2% on last year.

The AGR has called for cautious optimism in light of the findings. Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive, commented: “There are some very encouraging signs for graduates. Not only have starting salaries increased, albeit slightly; the number of vacancies continues to increase, which can only be a good sign.

“I am cautiously optimistic about today’s findings, which provide a welcome indication that the graduate recruitment market is beginning to overcome the impact of recession.”

Gilleard added that the survey of 202 AGR members found that the overall quality of applications for graduate jobs had improved, making it more challenging for recruiters to sift through them.

Further data on graduate recruitment prospects for 2010/11 is available from XpertHR.

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