More than 50 graduates chase every vacancy with top UK firms
YOUNG people leaving university continue to face an uphill struggle in finding work, despite an increase in the number of jobs available, a study has found.
A survey of the UK’s 100 leading graduate employers found the number of job applications from graduates had risen by 11 per cent in a year, with more than 50 candidates chasing each position.
While there has been a modest increase of 0.9 per cent in the number of university leavers finding work with the top firms, recruitment levels are yet to return to pre-recession levels seen in 2007.
The Graduate Market in 2012 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 leading employers had taken on 0.9 per cent more university leavers to start work in 2012, compared with last year, falling short of expectations earlier in the year that graduate recruitment would be up by over 6 per cent.
Martin Birchall, the managing director of High Fliers Research, which carried out the annual survey, said: “With a record number of students graduating from UK universities over the next few weeks, it’s good news that Britain’s best-known and most sought-after employers are defying the recession and have increased their graduate recruitment for the third year running.
“But university leavers from the Class of 2012 are still facing considerable competition to land a good graduate job this summer. Employers have already received an unprecedented number of applications for this year’s graduate vacancies and organisations in several of the most popular career sectors have now filled all their places for 2012, or have closed off their applications early.”
The number of graduate applicants in key sectors such as engineering, banking and retail has increased by at least a quarter in the past year.
Just three sectors – law, media and oil and energy – recorded a drop in applications, and applicants to investment banks remained close to 2011 levels.
On average, Britain’s top employers received 52 applications for each graduate job in 2012, compared with 47 in 2011. In 2008, the figure was 35 applications per vacancy.
But despite the cautious outlook, more than two-fifths of employers from the list, which also includes Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline, Google and the BBC, said they had expanded graduate recruitment this year.
Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, said: “Today’s High Fliers update reporting an increase in graduate vacancies is more welcome news for graduates from Scotland’s universities. It builds on official figures last week which confirmed that Scotland’s graduates have the best employment prospects and can expect the highest starting salaries anywhere in the UK.
“Whilst competition for graduate jobs remains tough, we know that employers recognise the quality of a Scottish higher education and the calibre of Scottish graduates. This is in part due to Scottish universities embedding employability as a core value in their strategies.”
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