The number of jobs available to UK graduates will hit a seven-year high in 2014, signaling a return to pre-crisis levels in employment opportunities for university graduates. A report by High Fliers shows that employers are increasing their graduate intake in entry-level positions by 8.7% this year. This is the biggest annual rise in recruitment for four years. Some of Britain’s biggest employers including Google, British Airways, retail giant John Lewis, the police and the civil service are planning to hire a total of 18,264 graduates in 2014.
Other key findings of the study include:
- Employers in 11 out of 13 key industries and employment areas are expecting to take on more new graduates than in 2013.
- The biggest growth in vacancies is expected with public sector employers, accounting and professional services firms, City investment banks, retailers and engineering & industrial companies which together intend to recruit almost 1,200 extra graduates in 2014.
- The largest recruiters of graduates in 2014 will be Teach First (1,550 vacancies), PwC (1,200 vacancies) and Deloitte (1,000 vacancies).
- 37% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations – either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work – and therefore are not open to other students from the ‘Class of 2014’.
- Graduate starting salaries for 2014 at the UK’s leading graduate employers are expected to remain unchanged for an unprecedented fifth year – at a median of £29,000.
- A quarter of top graduate programmes will pay new recruits more than £35,000 when they start work and ten organisations are offering at least £40,000 to this year’s graduates.
Where and What Type of Graduate Vacancies Will Emerge?
Looking at where in the UK employers expect to employ graduates, figures reveal that almost nine out of ten companies are offering vacancies in London and half plan to hire new recruits for positions in the south east of England.
The north west of England, the Midlands and the south west have the next highest numbers of employers recruiting graduates into the regions, followed by the north east of England and Yorkshire. Of all the English regions, East Anglia is the least likely to yield graduate vacancies - 43% of employers have opportunities there in 2014.
A total of 51% and 44% of graduate employers have entry-level jobs on offer in Scotland and Wales respectively and 29% are recruiting for opportunities in Northern Ireland.
More than half of employers plan to offer roles in IT and Finance, while roughly two-fifths of companies will post vacancies in Human Resources or marketing. A third are recruiting for engineering positions and around a quarter are looking for graduates to work in general management, research & development, sales or transport logistics.
Graduate Recruitment Strategies
Interestingly, there has been a sharp rise in employers’ use of social media - more than 90% of organisations are now using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to promote their graduate opportunities and two-thirds of recruiters admitted that their use of social media had increased this year.
A very high proportion of employers also used commercial or university email services to let individual students know about their graduate vacancies. At local universities, more than ninety individual employers have held their own on-campus recruitment presentations and taken part in university career fairs so far this year. Four fifths of employers have provided skills training sessions this year, with many organisations; increasing the number of events they have hosted.
More than 50% of employers have also used some form of business game to promote their organisation and two thirds of employers have sponsored student societies last year, a noticeable increase on the 2012-2013 recruitment season.
On the whole, it seems that Britain’s class of 2014 can boost their career progression at Britain’s top employers and look forward to the strongest graduate job market since the advent of the financial crisis in the UK. The substantial increase in graduate job vacancies also shows that employers value the skills that UK’s graduates can bring to their companies. This in turn means that a degree is still valuable in securing a good job and a rewarding career.