Graduates fight for jobs as vacancies dry up

More
graduates than ever are grappling for jobs as vacancies fall, according to the
Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey 2002/3 released by graduate careers
publishers GTI. Work experience opportunities are also falling as employers cut
back their recruitment budgets.

The
report catalogues statistics compiled over the last four years from eight
titles in GTI’s Target by Sector series. Between 400 and 500 companies took
part in the survey each year, representing many leading graduate employers.

The
report reveals that, since 2001:


Vacancies in most sectors have fallen, particularly in finance (down 20 per
cent), engineering (down 17 per cent) and IT (down 14 per cent). Despite the
decreases however, there are still more graduate vacancies this year than there
were in 2000 and 1999


With applications on the up and a decrease in vacancies, selection procedures
are still as rigorous as last year as companies screen for top talent. As well
as attending interviews, candidates can expect to carry out presentations,
group exercises, psychometric and aptitude tests


The days of recruitment by CV appear to be numbered. The use of online
application systems has risen further as companies continue to tighten up their
recruitment procedures to secure the best graduates. In 2002 65 per cent of
graduate recruiters used online applications, up from 55 per cent in 2001

Continuing
economic uncertainty means benefits and work experience opportunities have been
cut back for this year’s graduates.


As the competition for jobs shows no let-up, opportunities for work experience
are falling in most sectors. Against the general trend, work experience
vacancies are increasing in the property sector


Successful job seekers will also find that benefits packages are not as good as
last year. The most common cutbacks were on golden hellos, bonuses, season
ticket loans, gym memberships and subsidised restaurants


Salaries, however, have remained largely unchanged across the board. Where
salaries have decreased, this is marginal

Chris
Phillips, UK and Ireland publishing director of GTI, said: “This year graduate
vacancies have fallen in most sectors. Even banking has seen the first fall in
the number of vacancies in three years. In this current period of uncertainty,
companies are tightening their belts while students are making more
applications in desperate attempts to secure their first jobs.”

By Ben Willmott

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