"The latest AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey report, launched last week, contained, by way of a change, more good rather than bad news. Firstly graduate level vacancies are predicted to fall by the narrowest of margins (0.6%). Against a backcloth of continuing global economic uncertainty this is a relief..."
The latest AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey report, launched last week, contained, by way of a change, more good rather than bad news.
Firstly graduate level vacancies are predicted to fall by the narrowest of margins (0.6%). Against a backcloth of continuing global economic uncertainty this is a relief and suggests that despite everything, employers still place a high value on recruiting and developing graduate talent. Looking beyond the headlines, it is clear that some sectors are faring better than others in 2012. Hardly surprising to find that the financial services sector is recruiting far fewer graduates while public utilities are expanding their numbers significantly. It's also pleasing to note that public sector vacancies are holding their own.
The good news does not stop there. After three years of stagnation, graduate starting salaries have leapt forward by 6%. Again, there is a sharp contrast between sectors. In summary, those that were already paying well have not felt it necessary to increase their starting salaries while accountants and business consultants have made the most generous increases. The median average staring salary for a graduate among large corporate organisations now stands at an impressive £26,500 but the variation ranges from £38,250 to £23,000. One can only wonder to what extent starting salaries are affecting career choices in an era of increasing graduate debt?
After headline grabbing figures last year relating to the number of applications chasing each graduate level vacancy, totals fell to 73 from a record 83 in 2011. The fall suggests that graduates are making fewer job applications (hopefully switching quality for quantity).
However, competition for jobs is still high and candidates without the ubiquitous 2:1 will find that three quarters of AGR members will screen them out early on in the process. This is an obvious response to the growing numbers of applications that employers have to handle. It's a real challenge for them, though not one that candidates can be expected to sympathise with. Beyond the degree classification, employers look to evels of competencies and, relevant work experience.
The survey also showed the value of internships in the selection of graduates. Most AGR members offer paid internships and the indications are that they are growing in importance. It would be interesting to discover the ratio of applications to internships - I suspect it is as high if not higher than for graduate jobs.
Tucked away at the end of the survey report were some figures on salary progression which demonstrated the value of going to university and achieving a good degree. A year into a graduate position the salary grew by only 2% but three years on it had risen to 31% and after five years, 47%.
As I said at the beginning a report that for once contained a lot to be cheerful about. Let's hope the trend continues next year.