Graduates flocking to retail as the number of recruits soars by 70%
GROWING numbers of graduates are taking jobs in retail and the public sector as recruitment at the UK’s biggest firms stalls, according to a new report.
The Graduate Market in 2013, a survey of the UK’s 100 leading graduate recruiters, found a near 70 per cent increase in the number of retail vacancies in the past six years, despite top employers taking fewer graduates than expected last year.
The report surveyed leading companies, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco and Shell, alongside public-sector employers such as the NHS and local government. It found entry-level vacancies had fallen by 0.8 per cent in 2012 compared with the previous year, despite earlier predictions they would rise.
While just 48 per cent of firms had graduate vacancies in Scotland, those studying at Edinburgh and Strathclyde were more likely to find a top job than those studying at other Scottish universities.
Employers had increased their graduate recruitment by 2.8 per cent in 2011 and 12.6 per cent in 2010, following sharp falls of 17.8 per cent in 2009 and 6.7 per cent in 2008. The report predicted 2013 would see a return to growth, with employers expecting to increase their graduate recruitment by 2.7 per cent over the next 12 months. But while there are currently fewer jobs in law, engineering and banking, the number of vacancies being offered by high street retailers has risen by 68 per cent since 2007. The only other areas which have seen considerable growth are the public sector and the IT industry, which have increased graduate vacancies by 54 and 59 per cent respectively.
Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, the firm which carried out the research, said: “It’s welcome news that Britain’s best-known and most sought-after employers are offering more jobs for graduates this year, particularly after a drop in vacancies for university-leavers in 2012.
“This latest research confirms that taking part in work placements or internships while at university is now just as important as getting a 2.1 or a first-class degree. Graduate recruiters warn that in a highly competitive job market, new graduates who have not had any work experience at all during their studies are increasingly unlikely to be offered a good graduate job after university.”
The report found that just 48 per cent of the 100 leading recruiters, employers ranging from McDonalds to MI5, had graduate vacancies available in Scotland, compared to 84 per cent in London.
On a list of the 20 universities targeted by the largest number of top employers, Edinburgh came 14th and Strathclyde 19th. Warwick took first place. The report also found the average starting salary, £29,000, had not changed since 2010.
Robin Parker, president of the National Union of Students (NUS) in Scotland, said: “Although this survey reports some good news about an expected rise in graduate recruitment, it remains the case that graduate level jobs are still hard to come by. The simple fact is there are not enough jobs, and until the government recognises its austerity policies are failing, graduate underemployment and underemployment will remain a serious problem.”
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