Survey Finds Graduate Hiring at Highest Level Since 2008

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2nd July 2013 11:32 - Education

The survey, conducted by High Fliers Research, looked at the 100 largest organisations recruiting graduates – including Apple, Oxfam, Marks and Spence and MI5 – has found a 4.6% increase in hiring, raising graduate recruitment levels to their highest since 2008.  However, whilst there are more jobs for graduates the median starting salary at the UK’s leading graduate employers in 2013 remains unchanged at £29,000, the same as it was between 2010 and 2011.

Research shows that the biggest increases in graduate employment came across the public and armed forces sectors.  Whilst engineering and industrial companies have been found to take on an extra 800 graduates this year out of a 17,000 total.

The figures confirm the progress of 2012 graduates revealed by a separate nationwide survey conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).  It found over nine in ten (91%) students who completed courses in 2012 were in employment or further training.  However, the Hesa statistics revealed that almost twice as many men as women were earning more than £30,000 after finishing their first degree.

Martin Birchall, Managing Director of High Fliers Research, said:

"Our latest research shows that competition for individual graduate jobs remains fierce, with employers receiving an average of 46 applications per vacancy this year."

This fierce competition allows employers to be more selective; findings show that three quarters of recruiters are now accepting a 2:1 degree as a minimum requirement.

Just under a third (28%) of male graduates had starting salaries of £25,000 and above, compared to  under a fifth (17%) of females.  Research was not broken down into industry destination to explain the wage gap; however, one factor may be the larger number of women earning degrees.

Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University and Chair of the Million+ University thinktank, said:

"These statistics confirm that even in a very difficult labour market, studying for a degree on a full-time or a part-time basis remains one of the best ways of securing employment and a career."

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