Graduate job and salary outlook improves, says AGR

By David Matthews

University leavers could have better graduate job prospects than their predecessors when they attempt to enter the world of work this summer, a survey has suggested.

The AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey 2013 asked 197 large companies – such as law firm Allen & Overy, arms company BAE Systems and the Royal Mail – to predict vacancy rates and starting salaries for their graduate specific programmes. The number of vacancies offered in 2012-2013 is expected to rise by 8.8 per cent, the survey found.

As one employer in the energy sector said, “there’s really a shortage of talent in the sector, plus a large volume of the current workforce is approaching retirement therefore businesses need to meet that shortfall over the next five to 10 years”.

Construction and construction consultancy firms anticipated the biggest rise in vacancies – up more than three quarters compared to last year – with transport and logistics firms also optimistic. However, banking and financial services firms expect their vacancies to fall by more than a quarter.

The median graduate starting salary is also predicted to rise from £26,000 to £26,500. According to one employer interviewed by the survey, “the longer we wait to put our salaries up, the further behind we’ll drop in terms of being below that average and the further we’ll move away from the average”. “So there comes a critical point, where we have to kind of say ‘well, we really need to move now with the market’.”

Public sector employers predict the biggest rise (7.5 per cent) in graduate starting salaries followed by accountancy or professional services firms (5.8 per cent) and construction and construction consultancy companies (4.3 per cent).

Source: Times Higher Education