Hope For UK Graduates

(Written for The Big Choice)

As 50, 000 new graduates leave university this summer, Thomas Mitchell takes a look at the future job prospects the UK has to offer.

A recent study of the UK’s one hundred best-known and most successful employers found that more than three quarters of the UK’s top employers are expected to increase their graduate recruitment intake in the next 12 months.

The move will see many UK employers increase their graduate intake by a further 6.4% compared to previous years, whilst more than a quarter have plans to maintain their intake at 2011 levels.

Conducted during December 2011 by High Fliers Research, the study examined a number of graduate vacancies available at the UK’s leading employers in 2012, compared with recruitment levels from the previous year.

With eight out of 10 young people fearing they will be unable to secure a job after graduating, whilst youth unemployment for 21-year-olds now stands at an all-time-high of 25% this comes as welcoming news for university leavers.

Exeter University graduate said: “At first I wasn’t very hopeful about finding a job. There are very few graduate schemes, and most of them require at least three years experience in the industry. However if UK employers promise to do what they say they will, I’ll feel much more confident about finding employment within the next 12 months.”

Released in January 2012, the study revealed a number of public sector employers are planning to increase their graduate intake by a substantial 29.9%, an increase of almost 500 additional roles year-on-year, whilst engineering and industrial companies, along with finance, IT and retail are also expected to increase the amount of graduates they hire.

Only four years ago, the number of graduate vacancies fell by 28.3 % between 2008 and 2009, where many UK employers saw their graduate recruitment schemes decline during the early part of the recession.

Whilst these figures hint UK employment is continuing to improve, recent media reports suggest otherwise. Shocking figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealed graduates who finished university in 2011 found it harder to find a job than students coming out of GCSE and A-Level courses. The figures showed only 20% of 16-18 year-olds were out work, 5% less than new graduates.

With graduate intakes expected to increase within the next 12 months, the study also found that a fifth of graduate programmes are expected to pay new recruits more than £35,000 when they start work, whilst a quarter of employers have hinted at offering starting work bonuses to new workers ranging from £1,500 to £5,000.

A small number of organisations will offer at least £40,000 to this year’s graduates; the most generous salaries are those on offer from investment banks, law firms and oil and energy companies, where salaries could reach a substantial £60,000. 20% more than this time two years ago.

Charlie Ball, Deputy Director of research at the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) said: “These figures suggest that in most sectors salaries will remain flat. There has been some speculation that the average wage is not expected to change for another year, and I would agree that we’re not really going to see a lot of change in starting salaries this year as things stand.”

This study comes just weeks after the media reported youth unemployment within the UK is at its highest in 15 years. However these latest figures suggest UK employers are doing their very best to ensure more and more newly qualified graduates secure a full-time job after leaving university.

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