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Expect 2016 to be the best year ever for graduate jobs

2016 – the best year ever for graduate jobs?

Each year High Fliers produce a study of the latest graduate vacancies at the UK’s one hundred best-known employers – and this year’s research tells us that 2016 is likely to be the best year ever for graduate jobs!

The good news in 2015 was that the number of graduates hired by The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers rose by 3.3%, compared to 2014. Whilst this was a smaller annual increase than had been expected, it’s more than made up for by a whopping 7.5% expansion in graduate recruitment planned for 2016  by the country’s top employers. Not only is this the fourth consecutive year that graduate vacancies have increased but the rise expected in 2016 takes recruitment beyond the pre-recession peak of 2007 – and that takes the graduate job market to its highest-ever level.

Graduate jobs are blooming in many areas

suns2Employers in nine out of thirteen key industries are expecting to take on more new graduates than in 2015.  The biggest growth in vacancies is expected in public sector organisations, banking & finance employers, engineering & industrial companies and the Armed Forces; together they all intend to recruit over 1,300 extra graduates in 2016.  The largest individual recruiters of new graduates in 2016 will be Teach First (1,870 vacancies), PwC (1,540 vacancies) and Deloitte (1,100 vacancies).

Where the money is

At least a fifth of places on the top graduate programmes now provide starting salaries of more than £35,000 and eight of the country’s best-known graduate employers are paying salaries in excess of £45,000 this year.

aldi2The most generous salaries in 2016 are those on offer from the investment banks (median of £47,000), law firms (median of £41,000), banking & finance companies (median of £36,000) and oil & energy companies (median of £32,500).

The highest published graduate starting salaries for 2016 include Aldi (£42,000), law firms Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills and Linklaters (all £42,000) and the European Commission (£41,500).

There is very little evidence that graduate starting salaries are rising in reaction to the introduction of higher university tuition fees – most employers that have opted to increase their graduate pay appear to have done so in order to compete effectively with other employers.

Graduate starting salaries in general are expected to remain unchanged in 2016, at a median starting salary of £30,000.

Work experience provides a distinct advantage

Recruiters have confirmed that 32% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations, either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work.

ready2With more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates during the 2015-2016 academic year, an unprecedented 14,058 places are available.

Three-quarters of employers 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). And increasing numbers of 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.

Almost half the recruiters who took part in High Fliers’ research repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates who have had 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.

Competition is hotting up…..

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

Together, the country’s top employers have received 13% more graduate job applications so far, compared with the equivalent period in the 2014-2015 recruitment round.

But not everyone is doing the decent thing…..

Hmmmm…the research reports a noticeable rise in the number of graduates turning down or reneging on job offers that they had previously accepted. This meant that over 1,000 graduate positions were left unfilled last year, reducing the graduate intake at almost a third of the UK’s leading employers!

cowell 2We don’t know how you feel but with graduate jobs at a premium, we think the least you can do when you’re offered one you don’t want, is to turn it down promptly and let someone else have a chance. Dropping out at the last minute or simply not showing up is bad form and unfair on your fellow graduates. Agree?

Give yourself the best chance

Make sure you get the right experience to make yourself more employable – check out our great tips here.

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