Demand for graduate positions and work experience are at a record high, says Ernst & Young (E&Y). Graduate applications at E&Y were up almost a third this year. This is in keeping with the results of the biannual survey from the Association of Graduate Recruiters. That shows the number of applications for graduate jobs has reached the highest ever recorded. Undergraduate applications have soared by 96 per cent, as students focus on attaining work experience to boost their CVs. Stephen Isherwood, head of graduate recruitment at E&Y, says that in this climate graduates need to look beyond London for job opportunities: “We’ve seen record demand for our graduate vacancies this year, with a 30 per cent increase in the number of applications. It’s clearly a very competitive jobs market but, for candidates who are prepared to be flexible, there are still vacancies available for September.”

Employers are being inundated with unsuitable candidates, as talented individuals are staying put due to economic uncertainity, according to the annual Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey. Three quarters (73 per cent) of organisations noticed an increase in the number of unsuitable candidates for job vacancies, fuelled by the sheer weight of application numbers due to high levels of unemployment. But more than half of employers (52 per cent) believe that competition for talent is even greater, compared to 41 per cent and 20 per cent in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

Over three quarters (83 per cent) of women say working abroad has boosted their career prospects, according to the fourth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life Index. There used to be some doubt if working abroad would fast track a woman’s career, and many felt they were being passed over for foreign assignments. This no longer appears to be the case – expat women are in the fast lane. Women working abroad in professional-level occupations are either working permanently in the country in which they are living (76 per cent) or work in various countries (24 per cent). Of this latter group, the majority (69 per cent) are working for UK companies on temporary assignments abroad.

IT and telecoms salaries rose by 7.5 per cent in 2011, with an average bonus payment of 19 per cent, according to new research from IT and telecoms recruiter Greythorn. The average salary has risen from £42,800 last year to more than £46,000. Paul Winchester, managing director of Greythorn, said: “2011 has so far been a good year for IT and telecom professionals, as many companies have had to increase headcount in their technological departments as the recovery continues.” The technology sector was among the hardest hit during the recession, but these results suggest that companies are now realising that unless these departments are properly staffed, they face expensive efficiency deficits that hold back growth.