Employers predict a double-digit rise in graduate vacancies in the coming year, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), which today (Tuesday 27 January) published the winter edition of its bi-annual survey.
The survey predicts an 11.9 percent rise in vacancies for the coming recruitment round, following an increase of 4.3 percent last year. This demonstrates a sustained optimism amongst AGR members in the context of a steadily growing UK economy. Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the AGR, said: “Graduate vacancies continue to grow year on year and graduates are still more likely to be employed than non-graduates. But tensions persist. Employers would have recruited more graduates, over 1,400 more, if they could have found enough candidates with the right mix of skills.”
AGR members reported 1,422 unfilled vacancies in 2014. The largest proportion occurred in the IT/Telecoms sector, where 11.8 percent of graduate vacancies remained unfilled. The reasons given for this are varied. Some employers report students reneging on offers whereas others cite lack of skills, technical, professional or both. Meanwhile, more than a quarter (26.5 percent) of graduate roles in 2013/14 were filled by people who had previously worked for the same employer, for example through an internship or placement. “The importance of work experience cannot be stressed to students enough,” Isherwood continued. “Candidates that understand the world of work, understand their own skills and can translate that into a compelling proposition are much more likely to be successful in the jobs market”.
The survey also looked at school-leaver recruitment programmes, finding that 72.7 percent of members plan to offer these in 2014/15. While not necessarily reflecting the market as a whole this continues a steady increase in school leaver places among AGR members, up from 54.7 percent in 2012/13. Knowledge of this market is maturing, but the figures indicate increased employer activity and a change of approach that incorporates graduate recruitment into an emerging talent strategy.
“More employers engaging with the schools market is a good thing. It means employers are thinking more holistically about their talent strategies. It also means a greater variety of opportunities for young people,” said Isherwood. Sectors to predict a growth in vacancies from 2014 to 2015 include IT and Telecoms (26.9 percent), and the Public Sector (23 percent) but Construction (22.1 percent) and Engineering (19.7 percent) are also confident of a rise in graduate positions. The largest recruiting sector in 2013/14 remains Accountancy and Professional Services (22.2 percent), followed by the Public Sector (13.3 percent), but Engineering (12.7 percent) has leapfrogged the Retail sector to take third place*.
The AGR is the leading voice of graduate recruiters and developers. Its bi-annual survey provides an extensive insight into the state of the graduate jobs market. Today’s edition is based on the responses of 201 AGR members in the UK, which offered over 21,682 graduate vacancies across a wide range of sectors in 2014. Information was collected via an online survey that was hosted on the CFE Research website for a four week period spanning November and December 2014. In today’s digital, global fast-paced working world leaders and managers cannot continue as normal. The world of work is relentless in its pace: every day there are new startups coming into the market that are responsive, willing to take risks and change direction quickly. It’s a case of innovate or die – organisations need game changing individuals.