Moreover, the number of British companies with specific policies for recruiting graduates has risen by 39 per cent, with 85 per cent now implementing graduate policies, compared with 61 per cent in 1990.
The survey, which involved 257 organisations being questioned on their graduate recruitment policies in 1990 and this year, also found that only 6 per cent of UK businesses now actively discourage applications from graduates. Seven years ago the figure was 14 per cent.
Moreover, 30 per cent more businesses now employ graduates on short-term contracts than in 1990, a rise from 10 per cent to 13 per cent, while 9 per cent take on graduates on temporary contracts and give them opportunity to progress within the company, compared with only 5 per cent before.
One of the reasons suggested for the change in attitude is that UK businesses have realised the extent of the rise in the number of young people graduating. According to figures from the Department for Education and Employment, the percentage of young people staying on for higher education has risen by 68 per cent over the past seven years. In 1996 there were more than 1.7 million students in higher education in the UK, compared with fewer than 1.2 million in 1990.
Tom Lovell, manager at Reed Graduates, said: "More and more companies are finding that recruiting, training and retaining high-quality graduates is the best way to ensure their future success. Graduate training schemes enable new employees to learn across company functions and receive structured management and technical training.
"We are finding that employers are taking advantage of the extra skills graduates have by developing training schemes. The combination of many more graduates looking for jobs, together with acute skills shortages, particularly in the service sector, has created an increasing number of opportunities for individuals with transferable skills and an ability to learn."Reuse content