Graduate employer views on salaries and recruits

[private]Research has suggested that graduate salaries will be on the rise this year, having being stagnant for the last 3 years. Salaries for university leavers are expected to increase by 4 per cent to £26,000 this year according to the latest survey from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

The starting rate had remained at £25,000 since 2009. Between 2006 and 2008, salaries grew by an average of 2 per cent a year, following a peak of 7 per cent in 2005.

Investment banks continued to offer the highest graduate starting salaries in 2011 at £38,250, followed by law firms at £37,000, found the study. Regionally, London saw the highest median rate of £27,250 – but this still trailed behind the average starting wage in Europe (£28,500) and the USA (£30,250).

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: “The predicted increase to graduate salaries is significant and sizeable, particularly given the context of starting salaries remaining stagnant for the past three years. This will no doubt be welcome news to the government and the higher education sector, but moreover to graduates themselves.”

The bi-annual survey of more than 200 AGR members – who recruited 21,000 graduates last year – also found that while the number of graduate vacancies increased by 1.7 per cent in 2011, 2012 job places were forecast to drop by 1.2 per cent.

But Gilleard added that despite this prediction, the graduate market remained “relatively stable” against the backdrop of an uncertain economy. Other employers in professional services had suggested that London does not have the draw it once had, with more regional applications. Many agree that internships and professional experience give the skills  which are key to get ahead in the more competitive jobs market.

Application windows are also opening earlier each year.

The AGR research also revealed that graduate employers were wary of two-year degree programmes, which condense academic content from three to two years of study raising concerns that students would be prevented from developing skills or participating in industry work experience due to heavy workloads.

The survey also found that nearly all recruiters (96 per cent) were planning to use online promotions – such as social media, job boards and company websites – to target students; although the vast majority (89 per cent) were still planning to visit university campuses.

AGR’s report can be found here

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