Final year university students are pushing hard to enter the job market after graduation, but the number of jobs available to them remains below pre-recession levels.
This is according to two reports from High Fliers Research: the ‘UK Graduate Careers Survey 2012’ and ‘The Graduate Market in 2012’, based respectively on surveys of 17,737 final year student at 30 UK universities in March, and 100 top employers in December of last year.
The surveys show that the UK’s leading employers expect to increase graduate recruitment by 6.4%, the third consecutive year of growth, but graduate recruitment as a whole is still 6% below the level recorded in 2007. There will also be 50,000 more new university leavers this year than five years ago.
The number of students looking to take time off after university has dropped to its lowest level ever, just 12%, while a record 42% of current finalists made job applications to graduate employers in September or October of last year, up from 37% in 2011.
By March, a total of 61% of finalists had made graduate job applications, up from 59% the previous year, with the total average number of job applications has risen from 5.7 in 2010 and 6.8 last year to an all-time high of 6.9.
London remains the preferred employment destination for finalists, while for the first time since 2002, marketing is the most popular career space.
Applications for investment banking have returned to their highest level since 2008, while five sectors have seen a drop in applicants: the armed forces, engineering, government, law and the public sector.
For more on recruitment in engineering and how recruiters and employers are tackling the sectors’ skill shortages, see Sector Focus in the next edition of Recruiter, out 15 June.