Job market

Making sense of the graduate job market

Every year High Fliers Research undertake a thorough survey of the Times Top 100 graduate recruiters andThe UK Graduate Careers Survey and The Graduate Market produce a report summarising key findings and emerging trends within the graduate job market. The 2014 High Fliers Report suggests an anticipated 9% increase in graduate opportunities this year which equates to 1400 extra jobs.

The salary average is £29 000 across all sectors but this varies substantially with Investment Banks paying closer to £41 000 and top Law Firms averaging £39 000. This is clearly very positive news for this prestigious group of recruiters – and most importantly for you, as we know that top graduate recruiters target Warwick students. But, this is a narrow strata of the graduate job market which inevitably means disappointment for most applicants.

Sector growth & stagnation

I recently attended a presentation from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, (AGR) which represents a broader membership than High Flyers (750 recruiters). The AGR anticipates slow growth in some sectors in 2014. So a positive message but a more cautious one, with a reported average graduate salary of £20,000 rather than the £29,000 for the Times Top 100 recruiters.

Sectors anticipating growth include consultancy, business services and energy in particular as well as IT and telecommunications, engineering and industry, retail and the public sector. AGR reports no change for investment banking, fewer opportunities in law, FMCG, accounting and, in particular, banking and finance which has unsurprisingly taken the hardest hit in recent years.

It’s not just about corporates

Many small and medium-sized companies recruit graduates, and of course some jobs may not be advertised but discovered by students who proactively seek jobs, placements and work experience by:

  • Making speculative approaches
  • Undertaking work experience
  • Networking
  • Effective use of contacts

In particular, if you don’t find corporate roles appealing you may find these approaches help you unearth opportunities in the arts, culture, media, charitable sector, publishing and NGOs, to name a few.

The media angle

Some media outlets will spin a story, to provoke, score political points or even entertain! Read with caution.

As part of your academic studies you’ll be developing both your research and analytical skills, so why not use these to interrogate the labour market yourself? Relying on one source of information is detrimental and prevents you from developing a more rounded, representative picture of the job market. newspaper_front_page It can also be demotivating and immobilise people from taking action. ‘Oh there aren’t any jobs so there’s no point applying’ is a common response to this message. The reality is somewhat different. 92.3% of Warwick Graduates secured a graduate job or further study offer six months after graduation in 2012 (the most recent survey stats available).  So, room for optimism.

How you gather information will depend entirely on the jobs or sectors you want to apply for, so a one size fits all approach is counter-productive. But you might want to start with the following, or at least pick ‘n’ mix…

GEMS (Graduate Employment Market Statistics)

Use our GEMS database to find out ‘What Warwick Graduates Do’ and give you a better picture of graduate outcomes from your degree course. This information is a snapshot of post graduation employment patterns, but will still throw up some helpful stats and possible suggestions for career areas. You may also gain some idea of average salary – just keep sector and geographical variations in mind.

myAdvantage vacancies

Use our vacancy database to check what’s available, and  find out if particular recruiters are targeting Warwick students. There are more vacancies advertised during the autumn term as the majority of larger recruiters are seeking applications during this time. There are currently over 1100 and many of these recruiters will continue to advertise during the year.  Log in to myAdvantage to search for jobs and internships.

Speak to a careers consultant

Each member of the team specialises in specific sectors and communicates regularly with companies and professional bodies to keep their knowledge current about entry points, recruitment patterns and general trends across sector. Don’t wait until you graduate, come and talk to us now!

Meet recruiters on campus

Find out about their opportunities when they are on campus. There are (quite literally) hundreds of opportunities for you to engage with employers during the academic year. This includes fairs,  as well as a host of employer presentations, skills sessions and sector events. We also organise alumni events in departments so you can meet former Warwick students, willing to share their own career stories and valuable insights into jobs.

Get involved with societies

Make the most of Warwick’s many societies and network with recruiters at events your societies are hosting. Not only is this a great opportunity to expand your knowledge (and career horizons) but you can practice networking in a really safe space. And on that note…

Build your network

Make use of your contacts – both on and offline – to give you a head start in the job search process. Talking to if you know people employed in sectors or roles that appeal, gather information from those in the know. Harness the power of the information interview and get the insider view. Check the Warwick LinkedIn page for immediate access to an extensive network of alumni.

Do some fact-checking

Read the stories behind the headlines, by dipping in to the HECSU blog.  HECSU leads the way in researching graduate outcomes and career paths, and thanks to Charlie Ball’s forensic analysis you can find out what’s really happening in the graduate job market. It’s well worth a read.


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