"The graduate labour market is holding up well compared to the first quarter of 2012, according to university careers and employability professionals. Responding to the regular vacancy survey carried out by AGCAS, 93% of heads of careers services said that..."
The graduate labour market is holding up well compared to the first quarter of 2012, according to university careers and employability professionals. Responding to the regular vacancy survey carried out by AGCAS, 93% of heads of careers services said that, in their experience, the graduate labour market was more buoyant (50%) or the same (43%) in the quarter ending 30 June 2012 when compared to the previous quarter. 79% said it was more buoyant (43%) or the same (36%) compared to the same period last year.
While a continuing decline in public sector vacancies is impacting particularly on universities running specialist courses in areas like podiatry, dietetics, education, social work and youth work, and the number of legal profession traineeships is also reported to be down, this seems to have been largely offset by increased activity in other areas.
Careers services again reported shortages of candidates who are well-qualified for careers in IT and engineering and, this quarter, there was a noticeable increase in the number of advertising, marketing, sales and purchasing vacancies.
Many also mentioned increased engagement in the graduate labour market from SMEs and an increase in 'niche graduate' posts. This is a term used to describe occupations that, while not traditionally requiring a degree, require a combination of expert and soft skills that today's graduates are more likely to offer than non-graduates, and so are increasingly likely to be filled by them. Examples would be positions for hospitality, retail, leisure and sports managers, graphic designers and many roles in SMEs, where flexibility and multiple skills are needed.
Some respondents also spoke of an increased interest from graduates, both international and UK, in working overseas and explained how their careers and employability services were devoting resources to increasing the number of such opportunities available to their graduates, for example by building relationships with international companies and by working with alumni based overseas.
AGCAS President, Anne-Marie Martin, said:
"The findings of the survey are very encouraging, especially given the overall economic climate. It seems as though we might be seeing early evidence of a gradual shift in the labour market with an increasing range of employers seeking out UK graduates - including smaller companies, recruiters in sectors that perhaps wouldn't have taken on graduates at all in the past, and organisations of all sizes that are succeeding in the global economy - even in this difficult climate.
Careers services understand how the labour market is changing and they themselves are evolving and developing strategies to ensure that their graduates are well-placed to take advantage of opportunities wherever they're to be found. They're persuading more organisations to take on graduates, while at the same time showing students how to be enterprising and unearth opportunities for themselves.
And, I'm pleased to say, it looks as though more and more students and graduates are getting the message. Our advice is: although the labour market is competitive, there are still jobs out there; do your research; consider smaller employers as well as well-known companies; develop and learn how to articulate your skills; get work experience from your school days onwards and build on that while at university; write the best application possible and prepare well for interviews. University careers and employability services can help with all of these."
The AGCAS quarterly report differs from those published by AGR and High Fliers, which survey recruiters for larger companies' graduate training schemes. Universities carry all types of graduate vacancies for organisations from across the economic spectrum, including smaller companies and the not-for-profit sector.