Applications / Job market

UK Graduate recruitment trends 2017-18

Each year, the Institute of Student Employers (formerly the Association of Graduate Recruiters) undertakes a survey of its members. 200 recruiters responded to the 2017 survey. Between them they recruited 31,630 students during 2017. They employ between them 2.8 million staff across more than 16 sectors. Whilst this is a small sample of UK recruiters overall, it does include those who hire the majority of graduates.

Key headlines relevant to current students:

  • Graduate salaries have risen across the board. Median starting salaries for graduates rose to £28,000; outside London this is £26,260
  • Median intern salaries rose 5% to £360 per week
  • It still appears to be a buyer’s market, with 10% of job offers being declined and 5% reneging on offers, making the hiring process and attempt to recruit the right people an expensive activity for recruiters
  • The graduate job market remains strong overall- but there are variations. Opportunities in IT and Engineering are up; those in the Public Sector, Law and Banking are down.
  • Application ratios within sectors vary; overall on average there are 75 applications per vacancy. Investment Banking is the highest sector with 133 applications per job and Accounting and professional services the lowest with 29:1
  • More recruiters are diversifying the institutions they select from with 18% using name-blind or University-bind selection processes. Small inroads are bring made into improving gender and diversity. Recruiters would like to attract more students from non-traditional backgrounds
  • 69% offer some kind of temporary opportunity to first year students; 27% offer insight days and 16% insight weeks. 42% of interns and placement students are converted into graduate hires with 1/10 converting more than 79% of interns
  • The highest proportion of interns recruited to graduate jobs was in Law (64%)
  • Selection processes are becoming faster, more tailored and more digital. The average time to offer from start to finish is now 9.5 weeks
  • 53% of recruiters now use video interviewing up from 30% in 2015
  • Selection processes are becoming more inclusive; 69% of recruiters in the survey now require a 2:1 down from 76% four years ago
  • 41% of recruiters now use a strengths-based approach in some way (insert link)
  • Use of testing remains high with 82% of recruiters using psychometric tests.
  • The use of situational judgement tests has increased
  • 96% of recruiters use assessment centres with 90% including an interview and 49% a case study

So what are the key learning points from ISE’s research for applicants?

  • Getting relevant paid work experience/internships will increase the odds of being offered a graduate job
  • There is no escaping the video interview; it’s a time-saving resource for recruiters, so make the most of the opportunity to practice using the available software before you experience this
  • Know the difference between strengths-based and competency-based interviews- see our relevant blog posts
  • Practice situational judgement tests and understand what these are
  • Practice aptitude tests beforehand
  • It is still a buyer’s market; but better to apply for jobs you really want than changing your mind later on, so focus on yourself and know what you really want before applying. You’ll be able to do fewer and better quality applications for opportunities you are genuinely motivated by
  • We are fortunate at Warwick in being in the top 3 Universities targeted by the Times 100 graduate recruiters (High Flyers 2018). Know that most of these recruiters run their recruitment cycles from the start of autumn term – a few are earlier than this- until mid-Spring. Some recruiters may fill their vacancies before the closing date- so don’t risk applying at the last minute
  • However it’s not enough to have a 2:1 from a ‘good’ university as a guarantee of a graduate job offer; recruiters increasingly expect applicants to have work experience, ideally relevant work experience and skills developed through extra-curricular activies. Warwick’s Experience Portal contains hundreds of paid opportunities to search from, in addition to the internship opportunities through MyAdvantage
  • Check which recruiters are willing to consider applicants with a 2:2
  • Take advantage of the many opportunities to meet recruiters on campus. Large Careers Fairs take place early on each autumn term with sector events, employer presentations and skills sessions running during autumn and spring terms
  • Attend the skills sessions that are most relevant to you. These include: assessment centres, interview skills, 1-1 video interview feedback, CV and applications support, aptitude testing and how to create a professional online presence
  • Whilst the recruitment cycle for larger firms may over by January, many firms will continue to hire, so don’t assume that there are no graduate jobs left beyond this point. We currently have more than 800 hundred graduate vacancies and over 200 Internships available to Warwick students through MyAdvantage


Anne Wilson

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