More than half of graduate employers had jobs left unfilled in 2016

According to a poll by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) the majority of employers are struggling to fill their graduate vacancies, partly due to students reneging on offers.

The winter poll showed that 52% of employers did not fill all of their graduate vacancies last year.

Some of the UK’s largest graduate employers completed the survey. Of the 79 respondents there were 13,156 graduate jobs available in 2016 and 5.4% of those vacancies remained unfilled.

While one in five offers were declined, students’ reneging on job offers continues to be a concern. On average 7.1% of offers made were reneged last year.

However, employers are finding ways to tackle the issue with 97% communicating and 78% holding events for graduates between offer and join date. As a result the proportion of job offers reneged is falling – in the AGR’s 2015 poll 8.2% were reneged.

The size of the challenge differs by sector. Accountancy, banking and engineering firms are the most likely to find reneging an issue. It is less of a problem in the public sector and among law, utility and IT businesses.

AGR Chief Executive, Stephen Isherwood said: “We are still seeing employers struggling to fill their graduate jobs every year. While the market for talent remains competitive, the trend towards students backing out of their agreements continues to make matters worse.

“Employers are getting a handle on the situation by keeping regular contact with candidates and inviting them to meet with their peers. But students need to adopt a more responsible and respectful approach. Hold on and wait for your offers to come in and give employers notice if you plan to renege.

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