Increase in graduate vacancies for 2011?

High Fliers Research survey 100 large companies within the UK about their graduate recruitment plans at various points throughout the year, this report is an update on a survey they carried out in June 2011.

The results:

An increase in graduate vacancies overall compared to 2010: 5.1% more vacancies available within the organisations surveyed compared to 2010. Most sectors reported an increase in vacancies including accountancy, consulting firms, retailers and city investment banks

Decreased vacancies in some areas compared to 2010: the armed forces, the media, oil and energy, chemical and pharmaceutical

Less competition compared to 2010: A small drop in the average numbers of graduates applying for each graduate vacancy: 48 applicants per vacancy in 2011, compared to 50 in 2010.

Areas with highest competition for vacancies: consumer goods manufacturers, oil and energy and investment banks (70 applications per graduate position)

Little change in salaries compared to 2010 with the exception of:

  • Accounting and professional services
  • Chemical and pharmaceuticals
  • Consulting
  • IT and telecommunications
  • Oil and energy
  • Media organisations
  • Engineering and industrial work

What does this data tell us?

We could argue that the survey isn’t very representative of employers offering graduate vacancies: the companies surveyed represent a small selection of employers who recruit graduates each year: High Fliers Research base their survey sample on The Times Top 100 list, – the companies which 17,000 final year students said they’d most like work for when they were surveyed.

Also, only around 14% of graduates each year end up working for large companies such as the ones in this survey, so the survey couldn’t be said to give a representative picture of graduate recruitment.

However, generally the High Fliers survey is a useful indicator of what’s happening within the graduate labour market. High Fliers survey similar companies each year so the patterns in the report are useful. For example, the effects of the recession can be seen if we look at the changes to the numbers of graduate vacancies each year compared to the previous year since 2005:

2011 +5.1%

2010 +12.6%

2009 -17.8%

2008 -6.7%

2007 +10.1%

2006 +10.8%

2005 +10.9%

Looking at it this way, the increase in graduate vacancies this year, following on from last year’s increase after two years of decreased numbers of graduate vacancies together with the slight decrease in competition for vacancies appears to be good news for students and graduates.


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