Starting salaries for top British graduates frozen
Vacancies fall by 5.4%, the biggest drop in six years
Starting salaries for top graduates will be frozen for the first time in living memory this year, according to a report published today.
The survey, by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), also predicts the number of job vacancies will fall by 5.4 per cent – the biggest drop for six years. Figures show graduates starting jobs this September are likely to earn an average of £25,000 a year, exactly the same starting figure as last autumn.
Recruitment experts say this will be a bitter blow to the class of 2009, which is the first to graduate with debts as a result of the introduction of £3,000 a year top-up fees.
Some employers, notably banks and financial services, are cutting salaries by up to 8 per cent. Banks predictably estimate the biggest cut in vacancies – around 28 per cent on last year.
But there are encouraging signs – vacancies in engineering and in the public services have risen. This year's drop in vacancies follows a drastic revision of the prediction for 2008 that graduate job vacancies would rise by 11 per cent. The rise was only 0.6 per cent.
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "Though we are set to see a drop in vacancies this year, the situation is certainly not as severe as it could be. We saw a sharper decrease in 2003, for example, when recruiters had a negative reaction to the dot.com crash.
"By and large, while no one doubts the seriousness of the current economic downturn, the picture for graduate recruitment, though worrying, could be bleaker. There are even some silver linings with growth predicted in the engineering and public sectors – both of which are likely to appeal to graduates seeking job security this year."
The Higher Education minister David Lammy said: "There are still jobs out there for graduates and going to university is still and always will be a good investment in your future career."
Today's report is based on the responses of 245 of the country's leading graduate recruiters – who employ between them 21,144 graduates.
* Britain's top independent schools today report a rise in applications for this September – contradicting expectations that numbers would fall as a result of the recession.
Figures published by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Association – which represents 250 traditional former boys-only private schools such as Eton and Winchester – show a 1.7 per cent rise in the number of 11-year-olds put in for their entrance exams this year. Demand for admission places at age 13 is also up – by 7.5 per cent – and there has been an 8.2 per cent rise in applications to independent school sixth-forms.
The schools attribute the rise to a lack of trust in the Government to run schools. Other commentators suggested parents were putting their children in for entrance tests as they felt their chances of getting accepted were higher.
Bernard Trafford, chairman of HMC and head of Newcastle Royal Grammar School said: "Parents hear that all state schools are to be refurbished and then they hear that this may not happen. They want something that's tried and trusted – and that's what the independent sector offers to them."
Average graduate starting salary.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
Men arrested after RAF jet is scrambled to escort Pakistan Airlines passenger plane to Stansted
- 1 Liam Gallagher slams Daft Punk: 'I could have written Get Lucky in an hour'
- 2 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.