Graduate hiring to fall as 85 job hunters fight for each vacancy

THE ASSOCIATION of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) yesterday said the number of positions for recent university leavers declined by 3.9 per cent in 2012-13, when compared to 2011-12.

The research revealed that each position is being applied for by 85 candidates, with fierce competition for the best jobs. Despite making up 18.7 per cent of all expected openings, accounting and professional services positions see less than half the average, with 37 applications per job.

London is expected to lead the pack, with 37.7 per cent of the predicted vacancies. When added to the south east of England, which makes up 12.1 per cent, nearly half of all the UK’s graduate job vacancies are in the wider region.

However, several sectors do expect an increase in the number of graduates they take on. Consulting and business services reported a 36.3 per cent hike, alongside a 30.8 per cent increase for energy and water utilities groups.

IT, accountancy, general management and consulting are all significant areas for recent students moving into employment, collectively making up over 40 per cent of the positions that the AGR expects to see open up.

Salaries are likely to remain flat, with median pay unchanged from last year, at £26,5000. There was a four per cent rise in projected starting wages for graduates last year, but 2011, 2010 and 2009 saw no increase either.

Energy and water utilities are the single sector which expects to raise graduate salaries, with a two per cent hike predicted. Despite restraint on government spending, public sector salaries are expected to stay flat. Some areas, like IT, are actually suggesting that the average wage will fall.