The graduate market in 2015

This week saw the publication of The Graduate Market in 2015.  This is an annual report which looks at graduate vacancies and starting salaries at the UK’s one hundred best-known and most successful employers (the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers) and this latest survey was conducted by High Fliers Research during December 2014.  There were some interesting findings in this year’s report and you might have spotted these in the news in the last few days including BBC News, The Independent and The Times.

The report in a nutshell

This year’s report suggests that the graduate job market is doing well at the moment with the number of graduates being hired by The Times Top 100 employers rising 7.9% in 2014, compared with recruitment in 2013; the largest annual rise in graduate recruitment for four years.  Employers featured in the survey also plan to expand their graduate recruitment even further in 2015 with 8.1% more entry-level vacancies than last year.  This could be good news for final year students as this increase in graduate vacancies for 2015 takes graduate recruitment beyond the pre-recession peak in the graduate job market in 2007 and means that there will be more opportunities for students graduating this summer than at any time in the last decade.

Of course these are very general figures and vacancies will vary in different employment sectors.  The largest growth in vacancies is expected in the public sector, accounting &
professional services firms, banking & finance employers, retailers and the Armed
Forces, which together intend to recruit over 1,200 extra graduates in 2015.  The largest recruiters of graduates in 2015 will be Teach First, PwC and Deloitte.

A couple of other interesting findings from the report include some employers reporting that they had unfilled graduate vacancies for various reasons and across all of the employers featured in the report there were over 700 unfilled graduate positions last year!  The employers also said that they expected that 31% of this year’s entry-level positions would be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations, either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re thinking about your options for when you graduate then I think there are a couple of things you might want to consider based on this report.  Firstly are you willing to be flexible?  A number of employers had unfilled graduate vacancies last year, which might sound strange when there are lost of negative news stories about the graduate job market. If you’re willing to do some research to find out where employers might struggle to fill vacancies and if you’re willing to be flexible about the type of vacancy or location you’ll consider then this could increase your chances of success in the job market.  Secondly if you want to work for one of the employers featured in this report then do you need to get more experience?  The employers in the survey said they expect to fill 31% of their vacancies with graduates who have already worked for them so undertaking an internship or placement with one of these employers could be extremely beneficial.

And finally…

Remember that this report is by no means the whole story when it comes to the graduate job market.  This report is based on the Times Top 100 Employers and these employers make up only a proportion of the job market for graduates.  There are many opportunities for graduates with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which don’t feature in this report and of course vacancies will vary by employment sector and by region.  So while the report makes for interesting reading it doesn’t tell the full story about the graduate job market.


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