The graduate hiring market is down by almost a third in some countries due to the coronavirus, the Institute of Student Employers has found.
An analysis of 21 countries by the graduate and apprentice employer body found that the number of jobs available for university leavers was down by more than 30% in Northern Ireland, Italy and Denmark.
Other countries experiencing a sharp drop in graduate role availability were Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland and UAE.
Eight countries including Ireland, Hong Kong and South Africa have cut graduate jobs by between 15% and 29%, the ISE found.
Compared to other countries, job prospects for graduates in England are higher, with a reduction in jobs by 1 to 14%, the same as in Finland, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
The ISE worked with the International Network of Employers and University Careers Services to put together the report.
A minority of countries analysed for the research believe the situation will get worse for graduates, with most expecting the contraction in jobs to slow down.
Poland and the UAE expect the job market for graduates to grow. Malaysia was the only country surveyed that expected a 30%-plus decline in jobs during 2021.
ISE CEO Stephen Isherwood said: “Graduates across the globe face a difficult jobs market. With local labour markets contracting and opportunities to work overseas reduced, graduates need to be focused and resourceful in their search for work.
“No one is saying that recruitment will cease altogether and we should not encourage students to view the graduate labour market as an homogeneous entity. A flexible mindset about location, industry and type of work will help students uncover previously unimagined opportunities.
“Recessions do end and graduate employers with corporate memory of previous downturns will have 2023 on their minds. Cut too deep into graduate hiring this year and businesses will lack trained talent in key roles when growth returns.”
The ISE’s findings come alongside new data from jobs database Adzuna, which reveals that more than 100 graduates will compete for every job this summer.
Adzuna said graduate vacancies had dropped by 73% in the year to date, with the North East and Wales hardest hit. It pointed to the fact a number of well-known graduate employers have either postponed, cancelled or drastically reduced their graduate recruitment schemes this year due to the pandemic.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, added: “The summer of 2020 looks set to be extremely challenging for graduate job hunters. In the 10 years we have been collecting and analysing employment market data, I have never seen such a huge supply and demand imbalance.
“Much like the 2008/9 recession, graduate recruitment is proving to be one of the hardest sectors hit. The kickstart scheme is great news for young people entering the job market for the first time, but it could also be a shortsighted plan to boost jobs in the long term.
“Many workers fear that their job could be under risk after the six-month government subsidy is up and we could end up in the same position we are in now, which will be a likely outcome in many cases”