Worried about your job prospects? Concerned you won’t be able to get a graduate job? Parents nagging you about your future plans? In that case, maybe some positive news about the UK graduate labour market might surprise you and lift your spirits. It’s much more positive than you might think.
Three recent surveys, relying on research and data rather than media messaging each shed a positive light on many sections of the UK graduate labour market. The Institute for Student Employers (ISE) recently surveyed its members earlier this month. 177 employers participated. ISE members are responsible for very many of the graduate level jobs in the UK.
- ISE members report graduate vacancies are up 20% on pre-pandemic levels. 2022 vacancies are set to increase by a further 22%.
- It is currently a buyer’s market. The numbers of finalists and graduates applying for jobs has dropped. Almost half of those recruiters surveyed are finding it hard to attract enough applicants. Some applicants are reneging on offers, suggesting they have had more than one job offer.
- Not being on campus and not being able to offer in-person internships has impacted recruiters’ ability to attract applicants. The lack of visibility may have contributed to the perception by students that fewer graduate jobs are available.
The annual High Fliers 2022 survey into the graduate labour market represents the Times Top 100 recruiters. Many of their findings echo those of the ISE. It’s worth noting that their members report:
- Accounting & professional services firms are expected to be the largest recruiters of new graduates in 2022, with a record 7,400 entry-level vacancies available for university-leavers.
- For the first time in eight years, graduate starting salaries at the UK’s leading graduate employers are set to increase in 2022, to a new median starting salary of £32,000.
- Warwick remains in the top 10 Universities targeted by High Flier recruiters (6th this year)
- Now that most Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, almost three-quarters of the UK’s top graduate employers are planning to deliver in-person vacation work placements and internships this summer, though some placements and taster programmes are expected to remain online. This is good news for those of you who have been missing out on in-person work experience.
Prospect’s Charlie Ball, labour market specialist (and Warwick alumnus) who publishes a fortnightly UK labour market update also echoes the findings of the ISE and High Fliers. Charlie reports:
- Robust demand for staff and candidate scarcity drove up rates of starting pay for both permanent and temporary staff at the start of the year.
- Employment intentions remain positive across the board but are particularly high in information and communication, healthcare and business services
- Employers have responded to recruitment challenges by raising pay (48%) and advertising more jobs as flexible (46%).
- Almost half of employers have hard-to-fill vacancies. These are most common in healthcare public administration and other public sector.
Vacancies on Warwick’s MyAdvantage database as of 21st February:
Grad jobs 675, work experience 191 and UK Internships 181
My advice therefore:
- If you are a Finalist who is stressed by the very mention of getting a job – at this point in the year you can choose to leave applying until after your exams. 1-1 careers support continues for you as a Graduate for 2 years after you finish uni
- The recruitment cycle for larger firms will start again this summer with recruitment and selection taking place during autumn and early next spring with a start date of next summer so you will have a year to fill if you wait for the next cycle and will be competing with next year’s finalists. Smaller organisations will advertise on a ‘need to hire’ basis so recruitment will be all-year round
- If you are a finalist keen to get a job but had assumed it would be challenging if not impossible – think again. There are jobs and you can apply now
- If you are a penultimate year student seeking in-person internships, do check MyAdvantage for opportunities as well as recruiter webpages and LinkedIn. See also our helpful work experience pages
- Virtual opportunities to learn about the world of work are available through our partners Bright Network and Forage
- Remember – any work experience will add value to your CV. That includes volunteering, so check out Warwick Volunteers and Unitemps for part time jobs
- You don’t need a career idea to come and start a conversation about career planning! Book appointments through MyAdvantage and see how we can help you.
My final message: You won’t get jobs you don’t apply for.