UK graduate vacancies 'recover but posts left unfilled'

Graduates Graduates are expected to earn significantly higher salaries than non-graduates

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There has been a significant increase in the number of graduate vacancies in the UK but many employers are struggling to fill posts, a poll says.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) predicted there would be 17% more graduate posts available in 2013-14.

However, its summer survey of 189 top employers found nearly a quarter had been unable to fill posts last year.

The government said the increase in graduate vacancies showed confidence in British business was growing.

Start Quote

Nearly a quarter of member have unfilled vacancies”

End Quote AGR survey

The twice-yearly survey of the top graduate recruiters, which runs from September to September and covers a wide range of businesses, suggests "significant recovery" in the graduate job market.

There will be an estimated 22,076 vacancies by September 2014.

It follows on from optimistic signals in the winter survey when a 10% increase in graduate posts was heralded.

It says: "This is good news but it doesn't mean the market has necessarily become easier for all employers and students.

"Nearly a quarter of members have unfilled vacancies. This means there is a mismatch in the graduate labour market between the supply of students and the demands of employers."

The report goes on to say the causes of "this dysfunction are complex", and it predicts the problem will grow because of a fall in the number of teenagers.

On wages, the median graduate starting salary has risen by £500 to £27,000 this year.

Changes in graduate job vacancies

  • 2007-08 Down 6.7%
  • 2008-09 Down 17.8%
  • 2009-10 Up 12.6%
  • 2010-11 Up 2.8%
  • 2011-12 Down 0.9%
  • 2012-13 Up 4.6%
  • 2013-14 Up 17%

The largest starting salaries are for investment bank or fund managers who can expect £42,000, according to the survey.

AGR chief executive Stephen Isherwood said: "The rise in vacancies and salaries shown in our summer report is fantastic news for graduates, and it is encouraging to see that employers are able to invest in graduate talent in this way.

"However, this doesn't mean the job market is easy.

"There are still unfilled graduate vacancies as employers are not always able to find the right people, with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes, for the job.

"Graduates must ensure they really do their research, target their applications and ensure their CVs do them justice if they want to be in with a good chance of securing a place on a graduate scheme following university."

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "This increase in the number of graduate vacancies is yet further demonstration of the growth in confidence of British businesses.

"There is an increasing number of students entering higher education, and evidence across the sector suggests that employers recruiting from university and higher education have found the large majority of graduates to be well or very well prepared for work."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    I agree that everyone is entitled to an education, but degrees used to be for smart people, not anyone. It was all part of Nu Labour's equality drive and the education system got broken. So lots of people get useless degrees in useless subjects or subjects that they are not smart enough to get a job doing. Ph.Ds are the new degrees, degrees the new A-levels and A-levels are the new O-levels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193. 117.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    The last group of graduates I interviewed were all expecting me to offer them £30k jobs, with immediate progression, as they had degrees. Unfortunately not one of them had a proper degree, and 75 % were virtually illiterate, nor write a decent letter. One refused to join the tea making rota, as it was beneath her, and one took 12 days sick in her first 3 months probation, as wasn't taken on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    172. ed_butt "There has been a significant increase in the number of graduate vacancies in the UK but many employers are struggling to fill posts." - "Perhaps it's because many employers in the UK prefer not to pay their employees a decent living wage if they can get away with it."

    More likely is that the 'graduates' have degrees in History of Art, Media Studies or Contemporary Circus.

  • Comment number 190.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


Comments 5 of 194


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