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Graduate jobs market to expand in 2018

Stephen Isherwood

Employers expect to increase their graduate jobs market vacancies by 11 percent this year, marking a return to double-digit growth, reports the Institute of Student Employers (ISE). Contributor Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive – ISE.

The annual Student Recruitment Pulse survey by the ISE (formerly Association of Graduate Recruiters) reported the intentions of 103 of the UK’s largest student employers, which hired 12,994 graduates and 4,937 apprentices in 2017. This year employers are primed to offer an additional 1,423 graduate jobs1.

This marks a return to double-digit growth in the graduate jobs market, which was last evident pre-Brexit vote. In 2015 graduate vacancies grew 13 percent, compared to an 8 percent decrease in 2016 and 1 percent increase in 2017. As employers responded to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, apprenticeship vacancies have continually increased during the same period, making up for some of the shortfall.

In 2016 the number of apprenticeships increased by 13 percent and they rose by 19 percent in 2017. Compared to last year, employers are expecting to offer 1,501 more apprenticeships – a growth rate of 32 percent1. Efforts to fill vacancies and reduce reneged offers have paid off for many employers. Just 38 percentof employers didn’t fill their vacancies in 2017, compared to 52 percent in 2016. Last year 4 percent of offers were reneged, compared to 7 percent in 2016.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the ISE said: “Over the last couple of years the recruitment season has been heavily influenced by the Brexit vote and nervousness over the economy, but we’re now seeing a return to normal state of play. There’s a positive mood from employers in this space at the moment and students should feel reassured by this renewed confidence. There are around 20 per cent more vacancies overall this year. If you have the right mix of skills, there are lots of opportunities and students should feel confident to go for it.”

The ISE survey showed growth across a range of sectors. Particularly buoyant were the public sector, IT, and energy, water or utilities sectors with a 22 percent, 18 percent, and 13 percent expected increase in graduate vacancies respectively. Mark Jackson, EMEIA Lead for Internal Mobility and Junior Talent Acquisition at Fujitsu said: “We need more junior talent to help our business continually adapt to the market. The highly agile workforce coming out of university is an attractive one for many organisations. The IT and digital sector specifically needs the influx of fresh skills, effectively blank canvasses, that they can help shape and continuously evolve over their careers.”

1 Annual comparisons are based on employers with data available for 2017 and 2018

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