Employers 'fight it out' for top graduates

By Hannah Richardson
BBC News education reporter

image copyrightThinkstock
image captionThose offered jobs in investment banks earned an average of £47,000

The UK's leading employers are "fighting it out" for a handful of top candidates, as the graduate jobs market continues to improve, a report says.

The report by the High Fliers market research company found that about 1,000 graduates turned down job offers at the last minute, leaving employers searching for replacements in 2015.

Around 20,000 students were recruited, mostly at the start of their last year.

This means students have time to change their plans if better options emerge.

Martin Birchall, High Fliers managing director, said: "At the very top end of the market, employers are fighting it out over the same few candidates - those who are expected to do well, with the best CVs and who have developed their skills at university.

"It's not unusual for the top employers to tell us that more and more of these graduates are receiving five or six offers."

He added: "It's very welcome news that Britain's top employers are recruiting their biggest-ever intake of new graduates in 2016.

"But as the job market goes from strength to strength, it's clear that our brightest graduates are becoming increasingly choosy about the employers they join."

The number of graduates hired rose 3.3% in 2015 with their starting salary at the UK's leading employers remaining at about £30,000 for the second year running.

However, graduate pay at the top law firms, investment banks and accounting firms increased further.

Other findings included:

  • The highest salaries in 2016 are set to be £47,000 paid by investment banks
  • The biggest vacancies are expected to be in public sector organisations
  • 90% of top firms are offering paid work placements
  • One third of posts are expected to be filled by candidates who have already worked at the firm in question

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