SMEs boost number of graduate vacancies in UK

Report reveals graduate jobs set to rise 17% this year, but 23% of businesses failed to fill vacancies in 2013

SMEs boost number of graduate vacancies in UK

Graduating from university and entering the real world is a daunting prospect for many. Instead of afternoon starts and lunchtime Australian soap binges, you now have to get off your backside and apply for a job. Suffice to say, battling a hangover to make a 9am lecture is a relatively minor obstacle compared to penning endless cover letters and CVs, fending off fierce competition for every single vacancy and struggling to iron a shirt for interviews.

Luckily, the graduate job market has been steadily improving over the past few years, no doubt driven by the positive intentions of our country’s beloved SMEs. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) latest Summer Survey, graduate vacancies have seen an average increase of 17% across the majority of sectors since last year’s graduation season. Of the 17 business sectors surveyed by AGR, the banking and financial industries displayed the largest growth with a projected 54% more graduate jobs available. Meanwhile, transport (29%), accountancy (24%) and IT & telecommunications (24%) are also expecting a significant increase.

The good news doesn’t stop there though as the average graduate starting salary has now risen to £27,000. This means graduates can now afford to replace their band t-shirts and boho outfits with some proper business attire. And those looking to take the investment bank or fund manager career path can expect to be shopping at the higher end of the market, with the median starting salary in those sectors now sitting at a tidy £43,500.

However, things aren’t quite as rosy for those eyeing up a career in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or energy, water & utilities, with graduate positions in these industries expected to fall by 13% and 9% respectively. Also of concern is the fact that in 2013, 23% of employers said they did not fill all their available vacancies, suggesting there could be a problem with the student application process.

“The rise in vacancies and salaries shown in our summer report is fantastic news for graduates, and it is encouraging to see that employers are able to invest in graduate talent in this way,” said Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the AGR.

“However this doesn’t mean the job market is easy. There are still unfilled graduate vacancies as employers are not always able to find the right people with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes for the job.” 

So whilst there are signs that companies are getting back to their feet and starting to invest in youth, SMEs may benefit from being a little less picky when it comes to the recruitment process. Just a thought. 

James Dyble
James Dyble

Share via
Copy link