Graduate vacancies predicted to rise by 10.2% this year


With business confidence and growth predictions beginning to improve, employers look set to increase their graduate recruitment levels this year, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), which published the winter edition of its bi-annual survey. The survey predicts a rise of 10.2% in vacancies for the coming recruitment round, following an increase of 4.3% for last year.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the AGR, said: “Given the upturn in the economy, and the slight increase in graduate vacancies recorded last year, we’d expect employer predictions to be fairly buoyant for the year ahead; so an expected rise of over 10% is welcome news.

“There are some sectors – IT and Telecoms, Energy, and Banking and Financial Services – looking at double digit growth for 2014. What this doesn’t mean, however, is that graduates should be any less focussed on their career search. 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.”

Sectors to predict a growth in vacancies from 2013 to 2014 include IT and Telecoms (40%), the Public Sector (20%), Energy (18%), and Banking and Financial Services (16%). In terms of actual number of vacancies available in the market, Accountancy and Professional Services, the Public Sector, Retail and Investment Banking/Fund Management make up the largest recruiting sectors*.

For the first time, the AGR winter survey also looks at school-leaver recruitment programmes, finding that 54.7% of members – employers who have traditionally concentrated on graduate recruitment – are currently active in the schools market, with a further 15.4% saying that school-lever programmes form part of their future recruitment plans.

“For many employers now, a graduate programme is only part of the picture when it comes to their emerging talent strategy,” Isherwood continued. “We know anecdotally that school-leaver programmes are becoming more popular with our members, so we set out to investigate how many of them are now in the schools market. What we can’t yet do is compare that to previous years, but we will be measuring this data in the future.

“At the moment, it doesn’t appear that employers are replacing graduate vacancies with school-leaver vacancies; rather 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 leading to professional qualifications. However, it may be something which will begin to take hold in the future and we look forward to finding out in more detail how this section of the recruitment market is changing to meet the demands of UK plc. It is reassuring that many employers continue to invest heavily in emerging talent.”

Asked why they were recruiting school leavers, employers said they were committed to investing in young people and that these recruits enter different positions to those filled by graduates. Many employers reported they had always offered opportunities to school leavers and also that they wanted to support the social mobility agenda.

The AGR is the leading voice of graduate recruiters and developers. Its bi-annual survey provides an extensive insight into the state of the graduate jobs market. Today’s edition is based on the responses of 202 AGR members in the UK across 19 sectors, which will provide over 23,000 graduate vacancies in 2014. Information was captured through an online survey that was hosted on the CFE Research website for six weeks between 2nd December 2013 – 10th January 2014.

As published on