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Could 2019 Be A Great Year To Graduate?

31 Mar 2019

Recent figures suggest that 2019 could be a great year to graduate into the UK jobs market. What reasons do you have to be cheerful as a university leaver this year? Let’s find out…

Earlier in 2019, High Fliers released their annual ‘Graduate Market’ report – and this year it produced some pretty encouraging figures.

First and foremost, the report found that the UK’s top employers are expecting to boost their graduate vacancies by a whopping 9.1 per cent this year. If that all pans out as planned, then it will be the highest annual increase in graduate recruitment in the last decade!

After a couple of negative years following the decision to leave the European Union, the graduate jobs market recovered by 4.3 per cent last year. But this year already looks on track to be an even more successful one for degree holders in the UK.

The High Fliers’ report is compiled after a detailed survey of the the company’s which final year students consider to be the UK’s top 100 graduate employers. Included in the list are prestigious names from both the public and private sectors, such as Barclays, BAE Systems, the BBC, BP, the Civil Service Fast Stream, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, the NHS, Rolls-Royce and Unilever.

The recruitment drive for graduate would seem to be almost across the board, with eleven out of the fifteen sectors studied saying that they would be upping their graduate intake in 2019.

The latest High Fliers research would seem to be backed up by other figures from the Institute of Student Employer’s (ISE). The ISE’s Pulse Survey 2019 found that Brexit doesn’t appear to be having an affect on the number of graduate jobs available this year. The ISE study revealed that the 7 in 10 of the top graduate recruiters don’t anticipate that Brexit will have any impact on their recruiting trends this year.

Also encouraging was the fact that the top 100 UK graduate employers seem to be getting more keen on offering paid work experience opportunities and internships to students to get them prepared for success when they leave university and start applying for their first batch of graduate jobs.

Overall paid work experience opportunities look to be rising by just short of 2 per cent this year, with more than 13,000 placements up for grabs. Almost 3 in 4 companies said they would have paid vacation internships for penultimate year students and more than 2 in 5 said they would provide course placements to undergraduate students.

And it still looks like you’ll need to get yourself on one of those work experience placements if you want to stand a chance of landing a good graduate job, even if there are set to be many more on offer. More than 30 of the 100 top graduate employers said they wouldn’t even consider applications from students who had no previous work experience.

Commenting on the findings of this year’s report, the Managing Director of High Fliers Research, Martin Birchall commented: “Our latest research shows that despite all the continuing uncertainty over Brexit, the UK’s top employers are planning to recruit a record number of new graduates in 2019. The graduate job market dipped two years ago in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU but recovered well in 2018.”

“The growth in graduate vacancies for 2019 is the highest for nine years and there are more opportunities than ever before for university undergraduates to do paid work experience with the country’s leading employers,” added Mr Birchall.

So how about wages? How much are you going to earn if you manage to secure a place on a graduate scheme in 2019?

Well, on average it doesn’t seem that there will be much of a change on the last few years, with the overall median starting salary for graduate staying at a stubborn but attractive-enough level of £30,000.

However, some employers are willing to be much more generous than the average, with almost 1 in 10 of the graduate recruiters set to pay out salaries of £45,000 or more.

But how about which university you are at? Does that have a bearing on how employable you are and how much you can earn as a graduate?

Well, it would certainly seem so. The top ten universities which graduate employers say they will be targeting this year are Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Warwick, University College London, Cambridge, Nottingham, Durham, Leeds and Oxford.

That’s the second year in a row for the University of Manchester. The institute’s Head of the Careers Service, Tammy Goldfeld, welcomed the accolade, saying: “We’re delighted to be the top destination for graduate employers for a second year running. It’s testament to how closely we work with employers and students to ensure that careers fairs and workshops are busy and offer high quality jobs, internships and talks, so it is really good news that we’ve topped the list in this report.”

“The Careers Service isn’t just about job fairs. We offer training, networking and volunteering opportunities that, combined with teaching, helps our students realise their potential and become attractive to employers. The results show that Manchester really is a great place to study if you want to make a success of your career,” added Ms Goldfield.

Stuart Johnson, Director of the Careers Service at second-placed University of Bristol, also commented, saying: “We’re thrilled to be ranked second in this latest report – the University’s highest ranking to-date. Bristol attracts some of the best students and produces some of the most employable graduates, something that as an institution and as a Careers Service we are tremendously proud of.”

“We work hard to engage a diverse range of employers. From start-ups to larger companies, as well as the prestigious Times Top 100 graduate employers. This is because our purpose as a Careers Service is to help our students get to where they want to be when they graduate, whether that’s starting their own business, working for an SME in Bristol, becoming a teacher, or working for one of the prestigious Times Top 100 Graduate Employers,” said Mr Johnson.

If you want to dig deeper into the research then you can take a look at the condensed report here or read the full survey’s findings in this pdf.

And, if we’ve whetted your appetite for the graduate jobs market then it’s time to get your future career path sorted. Find an internship/work placement in your chosen sector or start applying for the latest graduate jobs now.

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