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Graduate jobs – looking good in 2017

Graduate jobs set to increase in 2017

celebration2Things just seem to keep getting better for graduates. Each year High Fliers research looks at graduate jobs amongst The Times Top 100 Employers and for the fifth year in a row, job numbers are increasing.

With the country’s top employers planning to increase their graduate recruitment by 4.3%, that means there will be over 20000 graduate jobs available in 2017. Six out of thirteen key industries plan to increase the number of graduate vacancies and the biggest growth sectors will be high street and online retail and the public sector.

Brexit jitters seem to have been allayed (for now at least) with just eight of the UK’s leading employers citing this as a reason to reduce their graduate recruitment targets for 2017.  An even smaller number of organisations are cutting back on graduate recruitment in favour of increased school-leaver recruitment, ahead of the introduction of the new Apprenticeship Levy later this year.

Graduate salaries remain unchanged

Just as pay levels have remained static for much of the workforce, graduate starting salaries are expected to remain unchanged in 2017, at a median starting salary of £30,000.

city2But for some lucky graduates, things are better –  over 15% of places on the top graduate programmes now have starting salaries of more than £40,000 and thirteen of the country’s best-known graduate employers are paying salaries of at least £45,000 this year. Again, the most generous salaries are those on offer from the investment banks (median of £47,000), law firms (median of £43,000) and oil & energy companies (median of £38,000).

Work experience makes all the difference

More than a third of recruiters repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates with no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

And with 90% of the country’s top graduate employers now offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates  (that’s a total of 13,917 places in 2016/17) you can see why.

fingerThree-quarters of employers also provide paid vacation internships for penultimate year students and at least half offer industrial placements for undergraduates (typically lasting 6-12 months as part of a university degree course).

Many employers now also have work experience places for first year undergraduates: over a quarter of organisations offer paid internships and two-fifths of employers run introductory courses, open days and other taster experiences for first year students.

So there’s no excuse, right?

Competition remains fierce

competitionHalf the UK’s leading employers said they had received more graduate job applications during the early part of the recruitment season than they had last year and two-fifths also believed the quality of applications had improved.

And so far, the country’s top employers have received 9% more graduate job applications, compared with the equivalent period in 2015-2016.

Where to find the jobs

Employers have been actively marketing their 2017 graduate jobs at an average of 20 UK universities, using a variety of campus recruitment presentations, local careers fairs, skills training events, promotions through university careers services, online advertising and social media. So if you haven’t already done it, get down to the careers office now!presentations 2

The ten universities most-often targeted by Britain’s top graduate employers in 2016- 2017 are Warwick, Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, Durham and Bath.

Graduate recruiters made more use of social media, university recruitment presentations, skills training events and campus brand managers during this year’s recruitment campaigns – and did less advertising in career sector guides.

Not everyone is grateful

But yet again there’s some bad news: graduates turning down or reneging on job offers that they had previously accepted meant that over 800 graduate positions were left unfilled last year, reducing the graduate intake at over a quarter of the UK’s leading employers.

cowell 2What is wrong with these people?! If you get offered a job and decide you don’t want it, that’s fine. But do the decent thing and tell the employer in good time. That way someone else gets a chance to snap up that great job. Not to do so is just plain arrogant.

Keep ahead of the game

To give yourself a fighting chance of landing a plum job, check out our tips on how to make yourself more employable right here.


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