Graduate prospects not so gloomy after all

Many
UK employers are continuing to invest in graduates despite the gloomy business
climate, according to a report.

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 25 employees.

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

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

The
sharpest fall in graduate vacancies is predicted in the electronic and
electrical engineering sector, where more than half the companies (including
telecoms) expect to reduce the number of new graduate jobs.

Graduate
salaries are also predicted to rise by an average 3.2 per cent for 2001/02,
although this is a sharp decrease from the rise of 5.1 per cent between
1999/2000 and 2000/01.

The
banking and finance sectors predict salary growth of 3.2 per cent compared to
5.9 per cent last year. Electronic and electrical engineering companies
anticipate a 2.6 per cent increase in salaries in contrast to the 5.6 per cent
increase the previous year.

More
than 40 per cent of the 178 AGR members polled reported a recruitment shortfall
last year, with the median number of unfilled vacancies being five places.

Carl
Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, is pleased that employers have learnt the
lessons of previous tight economic climates and are looking to invest in
graduate recruitment.

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 completely. 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 preferred industry
choice and clear about the skills employers are looking for."

www.agr.org.uk

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