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UK Graduate Employment at its Highest in a Decade


Yay – recent analysis by High Fliers Research has revealed that graduate vacancies at leading graduate employers increased by nearly 8 percent in 2014, and are set to increase by a further 8.1 percent this year, taking graduate recruitment to its highest level in over ten years. For the last two decades, High Fliers has conducted highly detailed research into the graduate recruitment market. Up to 140 employers in the UK use High Fliers’ research to plan their campus recruitment campaigns, and the information from the organisation’s research is also used to generate The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers list. Read on for the highlights of the High Fliers 2015 analysis of the graduate recruitment market.

See also: 5 Courses That Will Boost Your Employability

Research highlights

The largest growth in job vacancies is expected to be seen in the public sector, accounting and professional services firms, retailers, and the Armed Forces.

Teach First, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte are expected to be the largest recruiters of graduates this year, with Teach First posting over 2,000 vacancies.

Nearly a third of the entry-level jobs this year are set to be occupied by graduates who already have prior experience of working with their organisations; for example, through salaried internships, industry placements or holiday work.

Graduate starting salaries at leading graduate employers are expected to rise for the second year in a row, reaching a median salary of £30,000 for the first time. Over a quarter of the top graduate schemes will now pay their graduates in excess of £35,000 when they begin work, and four companies are set to offer salaries of more than £45,000 to this year’s graduates.

The highest salaries being offered are from investment banks with a median of £45,000, law firms with a median of £40,000, banking and finance firms with a median salary of £36,500, and oil and energy companies, which are offering their graduates a starting median salary of £32,500.

More than eight out of ten of the UK’s top graduate employers are providing paid work experience programmes for both undergraduates and new graduates in the 2014-2015 academic year – over 13,000 paid placements are said to be available. Two–thirds of employers offer paid holiday internships for penultimate year undergrads, and over 50 percent offer industry placements of up to a year as part of a degree programme. Furthermore, many more employers are offering first-year undergrads “work experience”, which includes, but not limited to, paid internships and “taster experiences”.

In a stark warning, almost half of the recruiters who participated in the research said that graduates without work experience would be unlikely to be picked during the selection process and would have very little, if any, chances of receiving a job offer through graduate programmes.

If you’re a graduate, or even if you’re an undergraduate, you can confidently assure yourself that waiting for you is the most attractive job market in over ten years. The key to securing a good job, as the research clearly suggests, is to undertake work placements. Currently, more than 80 percent of Britain’s top graduate employers are offering paid-work experience programmes for both students and new graduates; this isn’t to be sniffed at, so look for the opportunities and grab them with both hands.

As always, there is a caveat. As universities minister Greg Clarke perhaps unintentionally reminds us, there are more graduates looking for work than there have been for over a decade. So, the competition will be intense.

High Fliers
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