Graduate recruitment opportunities set to increase this year

Top employers plan to hire record numbers of graduates in 2007, research has shown.

The Graduate Market in 2007 – a study of graduate vacancies and starting salaries at Britain’s leading employers – reveals that the number of jobs for graduates leaving university this summer is set to rise by more than 10% to 17,134.

This is the third consecutive year that recruitment has significantly increased.

Graduate recruitment is particularly buoyant at the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, where there are now 80% more vacancies for new trainees than there were three years ago, and in the Armed Forces.

The largest recruiters in 2007 will be Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Army, which each intend to employ at least 1,000 university leavers this year.

Salaries for new graduates also continue to rise sharply. Top employers are planning to pay graduates average starting salaries of £25,500 – a substantial increase of 7.1% on last year’s initial packages.

But despite these encouraging findings, researchers have warned that the recent growth in employers’ graduate programmes has failed to keep pace with the huge rise in the number of students going to university over the past decade.

The research is based on a study of graduate recruitment at 100 of the UK’s best-known employers, conducted by High Fliers Research during December 2006.

Other results in the study include:

  • One in 10 organisations aim to take on at least 50 extra graduates
  • The sectors preparing to recruit the most graduates are accountancy and professional services (25.7% of total graduate jobs), investment banking (15%), the Armed Forces (10.5%) and the public sector (8.4%)
  • More than 90% of leading employers are recruiting graduates to work in London or the south east of England this year. By contrast, less than half have any vacancies at all in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • Starting salaries at the UK’s leading graduate employers are due to rise by 7.1% in 2007, taking average packages to £25,500 for the first time – a £1,700 increase on last year’s average salaries.

High Fliers managing director, Martin Birchall, said: “Record numbers of graduate vacancies at these popular organisations should help more of this year’s university finalists land a well-paid job after graduation.

“But the recent expansion of employers’ graduate programmes has not kept pace with the huge rise in the number of students going to university over the last decade.

“With 265,000 graduates expected to leave university in 2007, competition for places on the most prestigious graduate schemes is likely to be tougher than ever, and many top employers expect to receive at least 50 applications for each of their vacancies.”


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