Graduate jobs recover to 'pre-recession peak'

Students Two-thirds of recruiters require at least an upper-second-class degree

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The graduate job market has recovered to its pre-recession peak, with a 12% rise in the number of jobs for university leavers, a report says.

The UK's top employers recruited more graduates this year than they expected, says the High Fliers report, based on a poll of 18,000 final-year students.

The increase is the biggest for four years and follows an unprecedented 23.3% dip between 2007 and 2009.

But graduate numbers have increased by 85,000 to 365,000 since 2007.

This suggests a further increase in graduate-level jobs will be required to keep pace with the higher number of graduates looking for work.

The report says the average number of entry-level graduate roles on offer at the UK's top companies is now 190 per employer.

'Welcome improvement'

And a third of these companies increased graduate recruitment targets for 2014.

Overall a rise of 9% had been predicted, compared with the actual rise of 11.6% this year.

Start Quote

Britain's top employers have stepped up their graduate recruitment ”

End Quote Martin Birchall High Fliers Research

The highest number of new graduate jobs are in the top accounting and professional services companies.

This sector saw a 23.8% increase in graduate intake.

The report says: "These latest results mark a very welcome improvement in the graduate job market and suggest that graduate recruitment at the leading employers is now at its highest level for seven years."

Although competition for graduate jobs has eased slightly, it remains tough, with an average of 39 applications per vacancy.

Four-fifths of the UK's leading employers require at least an upper-second-class degree.

And employers received at least 50 applications per position for graduate jobs at:

  • consumer goods manufacturers
  • oil and energy companies
  • media organisations
  • banking and finance companies
  • High Street retailers

But more than two-thirds of companies plan to match or expand their recruitment levels next year.

High Fliers managing director, Martin Birchall, said: "It's great news for the 'Class of 2014' leaving university this summer that Britain's top employers have stepped up their graduate recruitment so significantly this year."

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