Number of job vacancies requiring a first-class degree has fallen by 80 per cent in two years, study finds


Fewer employers are insisting on applicants for jobs having a first-class degree, according to research published today.

Figures show the number of vacancies demanding the top degree pass has fallen by 80 per cent in two years, says a study of more than 800,000 adverts for graduates.

The likelihood is, say researchers, that employers are broadening their approach to recruitment - and looking at items like communication skills and character as well as pure academic qualifications.

The research, by jobs search engine, also shows that graduates are likely to earn £15,000 a year more than non-graduates - or £500,000 over a lifetime.

However, prospects for non-graduates are not all bleak with those who enter a mining construction job without a degree earning £69,578 on average - more than the starting salary for virtually every graduate vacancy. Other well paid jobs not necessitating a degree include equity trading and offshore oil platform work, say the researchers.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said the survey showed that graduate salaries had gone up by five per cent on average in the past year. “The good news for graduates doesn’t stop there,” he added, “as employers increasingly open up top jobs to candidates with the right attitude regardless of their final degree classification.”

The best job prospects are, predictably, in London and the south-east with almost 50 per cent of all job opportunities and the highest salaries.  Eastern England also offers high salaries - buoyed by a book in the science and technology industries in Cambridge.  The worst paying cities for graduate jobs are Sunderland and Hull.