Upturn in graduate employment in 2011/12

Almost eight thousand more of last year’s graduates are in employment compared with the year before, according to the latest Graduate Market Trends report from the Higher Education Career Services Unit (HECSU).

Despite continuing caution among companies surrounding recruitment and the impact of the eurozone troubles on many employers, 166,280 graduates from the 2010/11 cohort were in jobs, a 7,700 increase on 2009/10. Overall, there was a slight decrease in the proportion of graduates in work, however, and a slight increase in those unemployed.

Graduates in engineering disciplines fared well, according to HECSU, with a slight increase in the number in employment following their graduation last year. Within this figure, the number of electrical and engineering graduates in employment decreased, but a greater proportion who did find work did so as engineering professionals compared to the year before: 36.2% compared with 30.9% in the previous year.

Demand for IT and computer science graduates also enjoyed an upturn, with an increase of 8.5% working as IT professionals compared with the year before.

Recruitment into the public sector was not as positive and administrative roles were also hit by widespread cuts. There were 20.5% fewer graduates last year securing jobs in banks, building societies and post offices compared to 2009/10, a trend that to a certain extent has been blamed on technological advances replacing the need for these staff. Front-line public-sector roles such as occupational therapists, radiographers and teachers also experienced a decrease of more than 100 graduates.

HECSU also reported that the average salary for UK graduates has increased slightly for those in employment six months after graduation, ranging between £18,285 and £23,635.

This summer, the Association of Graduate Recruiters predicted that there would be a 0.6% decrease in the number of vacancies available in 2011/12, although this was an improvement on the previous prediction of 1.2%.

The HECSU report added: “Reports in July 2012 of a consecutive quarter of negative growth confirmed that the UK economy is fragile and, alongside the weak global economy, it is surprising that the UK labour market has remained fairly resilient during this double-dip recession.”

It anticipates greater job creation from the business services and IT sectors in the coming months.

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