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The Latest Graduate Employment Trend in UK

Covid-19 has heavily hit the global economy as well as the job market in the year. For fresh graduates who have little to no working experience, situations seem to be even more critical. The latest report from the independent market research company High Fliers Research has pointed out in “The Graduate Market in 2021" that employers reduced their graduate recruitment by 15%, while applications for graduate vacancies in 2021 has jumped by over 40% year-on-year.

The 100 employers included in the report are from various industries with the most student votes, which also formed The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers for 2020. They include: Accenture, Airbus, Huawei, Facebook, Apple, HSBC, etc.

Below are some key findings from the report:

Graduate Vacancies from 2019 to 2021

In 2020, 57% of the employers reduced the number of graduates recruited, compared with recruitment in 2019, or hired no fresh graduates at all.

The sharp drop in 2020 is the biggest annual fall since 2009. Although there are signs that graduate recruitment may begin a tentative recovery in 2021, vacancies in 12 out of 15 key industries & business sectors are expected to be lower this year than they were in 2019. Consumer goods sector has seen an increase of 6.7% in job vacancies while there is a 6.0% increase in the investment banking sector. The three most-affected sectors are Chemical & Pharmaceuticals, Oil & Energy, and Charity & Voluntary sector.

Graduate Starting Salaries in 2021

The median graduate starting salary is to be £30,000, unchanged for the seventh year.

Fewer than 20% of the employers are increasing their graduate salary. 13% of the graduate employers in the report will provide a rise of over 2.5% of the graduate starting salary, and 5% of the employers providing less than 2.5%.

The highest-paying sector is still investment banking with a median salary of £50,000. The second and the fifth are Law (£46,000), Consulting (45,000), Oil & Energy (40,000) and Retailing (£36,800) .

Graduate Job Applications

Due to the drop in graduate vacancies in 2020, last year’s graduates are now competing with this year’s counterparts, resulting in 80% of the UK’s top employers receiving an increased number of applications in the early part of the 2020-2021 recruitment round, compared with the same period last year.

On average, graduate job applications have increased by 41%. 11% of the employers reported that the applications have doubled, while a further 24% said that applications had increased by more than 50% this year.

Universities Targeted by Employers in 2020-2021

One in six recruiters have confirmed that they are no longer involved in campus promotions but taking a national or sector-led approach. Accounting & professional services firms, public sector employers and law firms have actively publicised their job openings for graduates at the largest number of universities, which are 38 universities, 33 universities and 26 universities respectively.

The top 10 universities targeted by the largest number of the country’s leading graduate employers are Birmingham, Manchester, University College London, Nottingham, Leeds, Warwick, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, and Imperial College London.

Graduate Recruitment Priorities in 2020-2021

Diversity remains the highest priority for employers. 82% of the recruiters aim to achieve ethnic diversity targets, and 77% and 72% of the employers target to achieve gender diversity and social mobility targets respectively.

For full report, please go to :

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