Graduate hiring improves at last but pay stagnates again

WARY recruiters are unlikely to raise starting salaries in graduate jobs, new forecasts showed today, with businesses instead spending extra cash on hiring more staff.

According to figures from Incomes Data Services (IDS), median pay for recent students entering employment will stay at £25,500 for another year.

The research indicated that companies are still reluctant to increase wages to match inflation because of the UK’s continually poor economic performance.

Despite this, IDS predicts an eight per cent increase in the number of vacancies in graduate positions in the year ahead, following a tiny 0.1 per cent increase the previous year.

And retail hiring is expected to boom – IDS predicts a 30 per cent surge in recruitment this year, along with a modest thaw in the public sector’s hiring freezes.

“Forecasts for graduate recruitment are much more buoyant this year compared to last, although some sectors are much more confident than others,” said IDS’ Nasreen Rahman.

The financial sector is one area in which the trend is likely to be negative. Although entry level jobs are traditionally well paid, IDS anticipate a 12 per cent fall in the number of available positions. “Key graduate recruiters like the legal and finance industries are cautious about hiring large numbers of graduates, but are still offering competitive salaries to lure the cream of the crop,” said Rahman.