Employers are set to boost the number of graduates they hire by as much as 18 per cent this year as the improving economy boosts demand for new workers, Incomes Data Services (IDS) said today, with financial services firms expected to up recruitment by a whopping 42 per cent.
The manufacturing and service sectors are also feeling upbeat, with both expecting to increase their graduate recruitment by 22 per cent.
Last year employers hired just 4.3 per cent more graduates than in 2012, while financial hiring was even more sluggish – dipping by three per cent in 2013.
“Recruitment prospects for this year’s crop of graduates look brighter than they have for a long while as the number of job opportunities is set to rise sharply,” said Nasreen Rahman, assistant editor at IDS.
This morning’s boost for the class of 2014 follows figures last week from jobs site Adzuna which showed vacancies for graduates up 37 per cent from 2012, with almost half of all the opportunities in London and the south east.
And nearly nine in 10 firms looking to hire people from universities report they still have openings, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters.
Many of the remaining vacancies are in engineering and IT roles, where 23 and 26 per cent of positions are unfilled respectively.
The big four accounting firms are also looking to hire. Both KPMG and PwC are boosting the number of graduates by 30 per cent to around 1,000 and 1,450 respectively.
Deloitte recruited 1,658 people into entry-level jobs in 2013, and plan to raise the number. EY said its number of school leavers employed would rise by 44 per cent to 100 people.
Despite the pickup in recruitment IDS found that the majority of employers – 65 per cent – will again freeze graduate starting salaries, continuing a trend seen since the start of the recession.
Law firms offered the highest median graduate salaries last year, at £35,000, followed by financial services firms with £26,500.
“Employers are keeping a tight lid on what they are willing to pay their new recruits,” Nasreen Rahman added.
But it’s not just graduates who are in demand. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) today also reported that recruitment firms have seen a 29 per cent jump in permanent placements for job seekers, driven by a 38 per cent increase in the finance sector.