Graduate employment drops by 17%

Published

Struan Campbell

A recent report suggests that students graduating in 2009 may face difficulties gaining degree-worthy employment.

The report, conducted into Britain’s one hundred leading employers by High Fliers Research, shows that there has been a 17% drop in the intake of new graduates, due to the recent economic downturn.

Also highlighted within the findings was the fact that many employers started cutting down on their intake a year ago, resulting in a higher proportion of last year’s graduates still seeking employment.

Martin Birchall, Managing Director of High Fliers Research, explained the reality that graduates now face.

He said: “There is understandable panic on campus that this is shaping up to be one of the worst years of the last two decades to be graduating from university.

“Many top employers have already received a record number of applications for their 2009 graduate vacancies and most have either filled their remaining places or have closed off the application process.

“For those who have yet to begin job hunting, the chances of landing a last-minute place on a graduate programme now seem very slim.”
The sectors most severely affected include: accountancy and professional services; retail; engineering and industrial employers; and investment banking.

Vacancies in the public sector and armed forces, however, have increased since last year. The research also suggested that there have been increases of up to 6% on graduate starting salaries in the past year.

Gavin Lee, President of the SRC, understands the anxiety that the findings may provoke and advises that students act to make sure that they stand out from the crowd.

He told Guardian: “It’s extremely concerning that graduate employment prospects are being affected by the recession.

“With recruitment down by 17%, competition is going to be fierce. There are services available within the SRC and the University to give students the best chance of finding suitable employment.

“There are a huge range of volunteering opportunities through the SRC and others on campus that can boost CVs — and employment opportunities — significantly.

“The adage that you need ‘more than a degree’ to succeed in finding fulfilling employment has never been truer. Students can get involved in clubs and societies, student media, or stand as a representative in our upcoming March election.”