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Graduate job vacancies up 10 per cent with 23,000 positions on offer


Job prospects for the class of 2014 are looking far rosier than for years, says a report out today.

A poll of more than 200 employers by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reveals an expected 10.2 per cent rise in vacancies for graduates - with 23,000 jobs on offer.

The rise compares with an increase of just 4.3 per cent last year.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the AGR, described the findings as “welcome news”, adding: “There are some sectors - IT and Telecoms, Energy and Banking and Financial Services - looking at double digit growth for 2014.”

IT and Telecoms show a 40 per cent increase on last year, public services 20 per cent, energy 18 per cent, and banking and financial services 16 per cent.

However, he urged graduates to remain “focused” in their careers search, adding: “We know that, even through the darkest days of the recession, our members reported unfilled vacancies because they couldn’t find graduates with the right mix of skills and attributes. Graduates need to think carefully about their applications and ensure they understand what a potential employer is looking for.”

One interesting spin-off in the research this year is a finding that many employers are stepping up school leaver recruitment programmes as well - with 54.7 per cent of those who traditionally concentrated on graduate recruitment now casting their eyes over school leavers.

“We know anecdotally that school-leaver programmes are becoming more popular with our members,” said Mr Isherwood.

“At the moment it doesn’t appear that employers are replacing graduate vacancies with school-leaver vacancies, rather that businesses are investing in a range of different programmes to attract and recruit a diverse range of young people - from apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships to school-leaver training to professional qualifications.

“However, it may be something which will begin to take hold in the future.”

University applications for this autumn last week showed a massive difference between the number of girls and boys applying for higher education - 87,000 more girls are seeking places. Many educationists believe more boys may be turning to the option of employment post-school to avoid higher university fees.

Today’s figures follows research from recruitment experts High Fliers last month, which predicted an 8.7 per cent rise in the number of graduate vacancies this year - taking employment levels back to where they were in 2007, the year before the recession began to hit.

The ten areas with the biggest increases in recruitment

  1. IT/ Telecoms: 40.3%
  2. Public sector: 20.1%
  3. Energy, water or utility: 17.5%
  4. Banking or financial services: 15.7%
  5. Accountancy or professional services: 12.2%
  6. Engineering or industrial: 9.2%
  7. Transport or logistics: 7.0%
  8. Consulting or business goods: 5.7%
  9. Retail: 2.7%
  10. Fast moving consumer goods: 2.0%