Graduate news: Recruiters fear they will not fill vacancies

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The Independent Online

Graduate vacancies are on the increase for the fifth year running, in spite of uncertainties regarding the UK's current economic situation, according to the latest bi-annual survey from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). The number of vacancies anticipated for graduates entering the market into graduate level jobs this year will increase by 16.4 per cent, while salaries for entrants will also increase by a median of 2.1 per cent – around the level of inflation – bringing the median salary for graduates to £24,000.

However, recruiters still envisage difficulties in filling all vacancies, with 67 per cent anticipating challenges. Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, comments: "The findings of our 2008 survey will be encouraging for graduates entering the workforce this year, as the market appears to be as buoyant as it's been for the past five years. Concerns about elitism within graduate recruitment also seem to be a thing of the past with the profile of graduates starting roles in 2007 being more reflective of the diverse make up of UK graduates.

However, the anticipated recruitment shortfall makes worrying reading, particularlyin certain sectors, where the recruiters fear they will not fill a significant number of the vacancies available."

Students dream of property, not beaches

British students are finding it increasingly difficult to justify blowing a small fortune on a gap year, now that high property prices make it too difficult to get on to the property ladder when they return home, according to latest research from Abbey Mortgages. Forty-two per cent of students (830,000) say they've already started to squirrel away money towards the deposit on their first home – more than twice the number of students saving up to go travelling (19 per cent) after graduation.

Years prove kind to graduate prospects

The first ever HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) longitudinal survey of university leavers reveals that three years after they were first surveyed, the percentage of graduates in full-time paid employment had reached 74 per cent (up from 57 per cent when first surveyed). Overall, 80 per cent of employed graduates were reported as working in jobs classified as "graduate" occupations. This compares with 71 per cent of graduates in "graduate" occupations when first surveyed three years before.

University costs are a cause for concern

Over 31 per cent of parents worry more about the cost of university than their child's grades, according to the latest research from online savings account Icesave. Thirty per cent of respondents said that they would contribute £2,500 to £3,000 towards fees, while 21 per cent expected to hand over £2,000 to £3,000 each year to help pay for living costs.

And, despite most parents agreeing that a student loan would teach their children good financial management, 57 per cent would prefer to take on the responsibility of funding their child's education.

Make the most of careers services

Most students are not turning to their universities' careers services for advice on the jobs market, reports Online Recruitment magazine. Only 4 per cent of undergraduates are using their careers service for help on their future professions. Eight out of 10 university-goers instead turn to friends, parents and even Facebook for advice and assistance with job applications.

The best places to go for work experience

Household brands are among the latest employers awarded a quality seal of approval for providing the best work experience programmes. Food manufacturer Heinz, retailer Marks & Spencer and financial services group Citi have each received a Quality Mark from the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE), which aims to encourage the development of quality standards across all forms of free working.