The graduate market in 2018

Ruth Donnelly summarises the findings of a recent survey.

High Fliers Research has just published a report about the graduate market in 2018, based on research with the UK’s 100 largest employers. Here are a few interesting snippets for students and new grads:

Large employers are cautiously optimistic about increasing the number of graduates they recruit in 2018. The biggest growth in vacancies is expected in public sector organisations, accounting and professional services firms and engineering and industrial companies.

Graduate recruitment in these large organisations fell last year, for the first time since the financial crash in 2009. This is most likely to be related to uncertainty about Brexit, but they are also carrying unfilled vacancies due to a lack of good applications for some specialist schemes and graduates turning down or reneging on offers. Average starting salaries in large companies remain at £30,000 p.a. with the highest salaries being offered by investment banks, law firms, oil and energy companies and retailers.

However, this paints only part of the picture – university careers services have reported an increase in the number of vacancies they advertised last year as a broad range of small and medium sized employers continue to increase their intake of graduates. The sectors which saw the greatest growth in vacancies advertised at UK universities were professional, scientific and technical firms and information and communication companies, followed by retailers.

Work experience continues to be valued highly by employers of all sizes and has become an integral part of recruiting new graduates for many organisations. There are increasing numbers of opportunities to get paid work experience through internships and placements, more of which have been opened up to first and second year students. This sort of work experience is valuable, but can be highly competitive, so keep an open mind about other ways to get experience, such as applying for the Employ.ed internship schemes.

Edinburgh University is the 13th most targeted university in the UK by the employers in the High Fliers research. They are reporting that the quantity of applications they have received so far this year has increased by about 10% across the board and, encouragingly, some of them are finding that the quality is also improving. So, to be in with the best chance of success, make sure your applications are as good as they can be to stand out against the competition.

The full High Fliers report can be found here if you are interested in more of the detail: https://www.highfliers.co.uk/download/2018/graduate_market/GMReport18.pdf

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