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COMMENT: It’s not all bad news for graduates in 2013

Posted on Thursday, 17 January by


According to latest study results, leading British companies within the corporate sector recruited less graduates in 2012 than in 2011. Specialist market research company, High Fliers, show that there were apparently 0.8% fewer graduate-level jobs, with the biggest reductions seen in investment banks and accounting firms.

Furthermore, expected vacancies for 2013 remain 11% lower than the pre-recession level of 2007. However, The AGR (Association of Graduate Recruiters) survey is due to come out next week, which has over 200 companies to take part, meaning results may change, which could indicate more hope for graduates – but do High Fliers’ results mean 2013 will be a sign of uncertainty for graduates?

The answer is no. Graduates should not feel disheartened as things are expected to change in 2013. Further results show that leading companies expect graduate job vacancies to rise by 2.7% this year. According to the GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) end of 2012 survey, 76% of employers expect to hire new MBA graduates in 2013.

Demand for new masters graduates is also on the rise in several specific fields, such as finance (up from 32% to 39%), management (up from 33%-43%) and other specialised fields in business (up from 34% to 46%).

Leading technology solutions and services provider Qinetiq is also said to boost its graduate intake for 2013, in aim to attract and inspire the coming generation to become engineers, scientists and technologists. According to HRD Dave Bradley, “It’s a time of uncertainty for graduates and under-25s, and we want to show our commitment to those who have worked hard and can really make a difference. The UK has always been a centre for innovation and Qinetiq is playing a key role in maintaining this.”

2013 is set to be a sign of promise for graduates, but this does not mean it will make the application process any easier. Graduates will be faced with a competitive environment when applying for jobs, as a 2:1 just doesn’t cut it anymore; employers want more.

The recruiters from the same study on leading British corporate companies propose that graduates with extensive work experience are seen as the most desirable and their experience will get them ahead in the graduate job market. Martin Birchall from High Fliers said: “This latest research confirms that taking part in work placements or internships whilst at university is now just as important as getting a 2.1 or a first-class degree.”

“Graduate recruiters warn that in a highly competitive job market, new graduates who’ve not had any work experience at all during their studies are increasingly unlikely to be offered a good graduate job after university.”

Recruiters also said they expect a third of all jobs to be filled by graduates who have had previous work experience within their company. This will rise to 50% for big law firms, and 75% for investment banks.

Taking all these figures and stats into consideration, graduates should feel positive and hopeful for this year. Graduate intakes at established companies are on the rise and a wider range of opportunities will be available. Needless to say, graduates need to also comprehend how competitive it will be.

Without any sort of relevant work experience, there is minimal chance that an application will succeed, regardless of good academic records. Graduate intake maybe rising, but so are employer’s standards, so this should ring alarm bells for students to push themselves that little bit more.

Yasmin is an online researcher for the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

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Yasmin Codron

Yasmin Codron

Columnist at SQ Magazine
20-year-old student in English Language at the University of Sussex. Online Researcher and Marketing Assistant at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

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