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Graduate labour market still on the up

Heads of higher education careers and employability services tend towards believing that the graduate labour market was more buoyant in the first quarter of 2013 (January to March) than at the same time last year. 93.1% of those surveyed by AGCAS reported that, in their experience, the graduate labour market was the same or more buoyant (41.4% better, 51.7% same) compared with 3.4% who believed it was less buoyant. 3.4% said they did not know. This is a more optimistic picture than that of the fourth quarter of 2012 when 80.9% said they thought it was more buoyant or the same (47.6% better, 33.3% same) and continues the upward trend from the previous quarter. 

The graduate labour market is cyclical, so comparisons with the previous quarter of the same year can be misleading. In this case, the previous quarter included most of the extended Christmas and New Year break. However, 79.3% of respondents reported that the picture was more buoyant or the same as the previous quarter (34.5% more buoyant, 44.8% the same).

Changing patterns

Heads of higher education careers and employability services continued to report rising numbers of IT and engineering vacancies, with demand outstripping supply. One felt that a contributing factor was the growing number of international students on HE courses, many of whom lacked the necessary permission to work in the UK.

Marketing, advertising and PR were also cited as growth areas; some said that the legal sector was looking healthier.

In banking and financial services, opportunities in 'middle office' roles, such as risk and regulation, were reported to be on the increase while vacancies for 'front office' positions were less evident. Recruitment in the arts and heritage sectors was also reported to be down.

Universities throughout the UK reported a continued growth in the number of smaller organisations recruiting graduates. However, some said that there was an increasing trend in taking graduates on via a short-term internship rather than a permanent or long-term graduate job or training scheme. Nevertheless, a number of cases were cited of companies offering graduate training schemes in sectors where they have not hitherto been commonplace. Broadcasting was one example given.

Broader spectrum of employers

The AGCAS Vacancy Survey differs from those of AGR and High Fliers, which question recruiters for larger companies' graduate training schemes. Universities carry vacancies for organisations from across the economic spectrum, including smaller companies and the not-for-profit sector. 




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