"MARRIAGE IS LIKE PUTTING YOUR HAND INTO A BAG OF SNAKES IN THE HOPE OF PULLING OUT AN EEL". Leonardo Da Vinci
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Graduate vacancies set to rise by 10%
Association of Graduate Recruiters says double-digit rise is good news, but that candidates must be aware of what potential employers are looking for
Reason to cheer: graduate opportunities are expected to grow in both the public and private sectors. Photograph: Christopher Thomond
The number of vacancies for university leavers is expected to rise by 10.2%, according to a poll of leading graduate employers.
The survey, published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), predicts that a number of industries will have more vacancies, with job openings in IT and telecoms expected to rise by 40%.
The public sector is also predicted to have a large increase in vacancies, up 20% on last year, along with energy, water and utilities, up 17.5%, and banking and financial services, up 15.7%.
However, there are expected to be falls in the numbers of jobs available for university leavers in law,
as well as in investment banking.
AGR chief executive Stephen Isherwood said: "Given the upturn in the economy, and the slight
increase in graduate vacancies recorded last year, we would expect employer predictions to be
fairly buoyant for the year ahead, so an expected rise of more than 10% is welcome news.
However, Isherwood said graduates needed to be focussed if they wanted to be successful in their career search. "Even through the darkest days of the recession our members reported unfilled vacancies because they couldn't find graduates with the right mix of skills and attributes.
"Graduates need to think carefully about their applications and ensure they understand what a
potential employer is looking for."
The survey, which questioned 202 AGR members in 19 industries, also found that school leaver programmes are becoming popular with leading firms.
More than half (54.7%) of AGR members, who traditionally concentrate on recruiting university graduates, are offering job opportunities to school leavers, it found. A further 4% are planning on introducing these types of roles in the next recruitment round (2014/15), while 15% said they hope
to do so at some point in the future.
But jobs for school leavers are not replacing vacancies for university graduates, the poll suggests.
In general, the employers questioned disagreed that offering school leaver positions had resulted in them recruiting fewer graduates.
Isherwood said: "At the moment, it doesn't appear that employers are replacing graduate vacancies
with school leaver vacancies; rather businesses are investing in a range of different programmes to attract and recruit a diverse range of young people – from apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships to school leaver training leading to professional qualifications.
"However, it may be something which will begin to take hold in the future and we look forward to finding out in more detail how this section of the recruitment market is changing to meet the demands of UK plc. It is reassuring that many employers continue to invest heavily in emerging talent."
Universities minister David Willetts said: "The substantial rise in the number of graduate vacancies demonstrates that confidence in the UK economy is growing and businesses really value the skills the UK's first-rate graduates can bring to their companies.
"A degree is still one of the best routes to a good job and a rewarding career. The increased number of graduates has been met by increased demand from employers, which is why we have made the historic commitment to remove the cap on the number of people who could go to university by 2015-16."
A separate survey of schoolchildren by the Association of Colleges reveals that the majority feel good about career prospects, although they are likely to feel more pessimistic as they get older.
The poll, which questioned around 2,000 11- to 16-year-olds, found that about two-thirds (65%) were "positive about their future job options".