Graduate job market bounces back

Leading recruiters, such as the prison service, are looking to recruit this year

In the early part of this year, graduate job fairs were not the lively occasions normally associated with the milk round of recruitment. They would have been even quieter were it not for universities advertising further study. But this year's Autumn Graduate Fair, in the Royal Horticultural Halls in central London on 28 October, has an impressive list of exhibitors, from IBM to GCHQ to ClubMed.

"It's not quite green shoots – but green roots," says Mike Hill, chief executive of Prospects, the graduate careers service. Immediate vacancies posted on the Prospects website, which can be anything from unpaid internships to full-time positions with small to medium enterprises, were up 50 per cent year-on-year for September, having been "very flat in the early part of the year", says Mr Hill. "We're starting to get small indications that the graduate cohort of 2010 will not be facing quite such difficulty as those of 2009."

Some university careers services are reporting small rises of around 7 per cent in vacancies, according to Mr Hill. "But it's early days yet," he says.

Gerry Wyatt, operations director of Graduate-Jobs.com, the recruitment website that will also be exhibiting at the Autumn Graduate Fair, is similarly optimistic. "In the last two weeks we've noticed a change in activity and inquiries, especially from companies that really felt the recession. Smaller recruitment agencies who pretty much went to the wall this time last year are getting back in touch," he says.

The graduate jobs market is largely seasonal, he points out. With students returning to university, and thinking about careers sooner than usual, companies are starting to recruit. Besides, says Mr Wyatt, areas demanding higher skills tend to bounce back first, which leads to a demand for the higher qualifications that graduates can offer.

"It's also a general level of confidence," he says. "People have just got their breaths back, and are tentatively jumping on to graduate recruitment."

Graduate-Jobs.com will be registering graduates for its website at the fair, and representing some of its clients, which include names such as Citigroup, JP Morgan, John Lewis Partnership, Foxtons and Aldi – known for its competitive starting salaries that come with a company car.

"For us, it helps to show some of our clients that we're out there looking for graduates, and helps us to gauge graduate opinion, and understand the issues they face," says Mr Wyatt.

Some 17 universities are also signed up to exhibit at the fair, including Coventry, Brunel, Liverpool, Southampton and King's College London.

The armed forces will put in an appearance in the shape of the RAF and the Army, as well as public-sector outfits HM Prison Service and the Civil Service, which will be touting its Fast Stream for graduates. The third sector, which some would argue was a chief beneficiary of the downturn, will also be represented by Cancer Research UK. A regular at graduate fairs throughout the recession, the charity says it has in the past taken on graduates it met at Forum3, the volunteering recruitment event supported by The Independent.

"The type of roles we have aren't just the stereotypical charity roles that people think of with Cancer Research UK," says Nikki Soul-Gray, graduate programmes adviser for the charity. "We need the same graduates as blue-chip companies. We need business acumen; we need high-fliers."

Cancer Research UK has two graduate programmes on offer: fundraising, marketing and communications; and corporate and scientific services, which covers finance and human resources. "It's all very well having a website, but it's key to have that face-to-face interaction," says Ms Soul-Gray. "It's very nice when someone has done their research and doesn't come up and just say, 'What do you do?'"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Year 4 Teachers needed for day to day and long term

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 5 Teachers needed for various roles across Berkshire

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Year 6 Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + D.O.E - Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone:...

NQT Supply Teachers

£80 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: NQTs required for short and lo...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home