Signs of the green shoots of recovery are beginning to emerge for the class of 2012, according to two reports released today.
Research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) shows that starting salaries for this year's graduates are increasing again after three years of stagnating – they are up six per cent to an average of £26,500. The slump in vacancies is also beginning to improve – showing a 0.6 per cent drop this summer compared with a predicted 1.2 per cent. In addition, the number of candidates per vacancy has fallen – from 83 last year to 73. Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, which surveyed its 750 members, said: "With continuing uncertainty in the eurozone, it is encouraging to see that employers are still talent planning and that the number of graduate vacancies is remaining constant."
A second survey, by High Fliers Research, which sought the views of the country's 100 largest graduate recruiters, paints a slightly different picture. It shows employers set to take on 0.9 per cent more graduates this year but says the number of applications per vacancy has increased – largely as a result of a major increase in the number of graduates applying for jobs. This is put down to them realising after two years in the doldrums that there is a greater chance of employment.
Martin Birchall, its managing director, said: "It's good news that Britain's best-known employers are defying the recession and have increased graduate recruitment."