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Graduate vacancies predicted to rise by 17% in 2014

But a quarter of top employers unable to fill posts last year.

UK employers are reporting a 17% increase in the number of graduate vacancies this year, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). This year’s summer edition of AGR’s bi-annual survey, which is published today (22 July 2014) compares 2014 graduate recruitment levels to the previous graduate season.

The banking and financial services industries show the largest predicated increase of 54%, with employers from 11 of the 13* sectors surveyed expecting to take on a larger number of new graduates in 2014. Only the FMCG and energy, water and utility sectors anticipate a decrease, of 13% and 9% respectively**.

Further reflecting improved levels of business confidence, graduate starting salaries are set to improve, with the median rising £500 from last year to £27,000. Graduate investment bank or fund managers can expect the largest financial rewards, with median starting salaries of £43,500.

However, the report also reveals that many employers still had unfilled vacancies at the end of the 2013 recruitment period, with 23% of employers reporting this to be the case. Anecdotally, graduate employers suggest this trend is continuing in 2014.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the AGR, said: “The rise in vacancies and salaries shown in our summer report is fantastic news for graduates, and it is encouraging to see that employers are able to invest in graduate talent in this way.

“However this doesn’t mean the job market is easy. There are still unfilled graduate vacancies as employers are not always able to find the right people, with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes, for the job. Graduates must ensure they really do their research, target their applications and ensure their CVs do them justice if they want to be in with a good chance of securing a place on a graduate scheme following university.”

Meanwhile, with social mobility becoming of increasing interest amongst employers, there has been a rise in the proportion that plan to monitor the socio-economic diversity of their graduates during the recruitment process. The report shows a 9% percentage point increase in this area from 2013.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "This increase in the number of graduate vacancies is yet further demonstration of the growth in confidence of British businesses.

"There is an increasing number of students entering higher education, and evidence across the sector suggests that employers recruiting from university and higher education have found the large majority of graduates to be well or very well prepared for work."

Today’s edition is based on the responses of 189 AGR members in the UK across 17 sectors, which will provide an estimated 22,076 graduate vacancies in 2014. Information was captured through an online survey that was hosted on the CFE website from May-June 2014.

  • Date published: 22nd July 2014
  • Written by: Elizabeth Savage

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