Budding financial staff are facing better-than-average conditions in the graduate-recruitment market this year, according to data compiled by leading polling group High Fliers Research. In its report The Graduate Market in 2012
– a review of first-job vacancies and starting salaries at Britain’s top employers – the agency revealed that the top two sectors for hiring are accounting and professional services
(more than 3,900 posts) and investment banking
(more than 2,400 posts).
In addition, accounting and professional services emerged as the sector with the lowest number of applicants per vacancy – registering an average of just 24 applications per graduate training post in 2012.
Other top business types for first jobs are the public sector
(more than 2,200 positions), plus engineering and industrial companies
(more than 1,300 positions).
High Fliers compiled its findings from data released by the UK’s Top 100 graduate employers. Companies that took part include Big Four accounting and auditing firms KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PwC
, plus financial institutions such as JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
• Graduate applications to employers have increased by 11% in 2012, and recruiters have received an average of 52 applications for each of their relevant vacancies this year.
• Application levels are now more than 25% higher than they were three years ago – partly because of the large number of graduates from previous years who failed to find work at the end of their studies, and who are competing alongside the ‘Class of 2012’ for this year’s entry-level positions.
• Faced with ever-increasing numbers of graduate applications, seven out of 10 employers now require applicants for their graduate positions to have degrees of at least at 2.1 standard. Meanwhile, a quarter specify that candidates should have a minimum UCAS tariff, based upon their A-level results.
• Starting salaries for 2012 at the UK’s leading graduate employers are expected to remain unchanged for the third year running, at a median of £29,000.
• Despite three years of increasing vacancies, graduate recruitment at the UK’s leading employers remains below pre-recession levels. The total number of graduate jobs on offer in 2012 across all the organisations featured within the research is still 11% below that recorded in 2007.
• By contrast, an extra 50,000 new graduates are expected to leave university in the summer of 2012, compared with the numbers who graduated five years ago.
High Fliers Research managing director Martin Birchall said: ‘With a record number of students graduating from UK universities over the next few weeks, it’s good news that Britain’s best-known and most sought-after employers are defying the recession and have increased their graduate recruitment for the third year running.’
However, he added, the ‘Class of 2012’ is still facing considerable competition to land a good graduate job this summer. ‘Employers have already received an unprecedented number of applications for this year’s graduate vacancies, and organisations in several of the most popular career sectors have now filled all their places for 2012 or have closed-off their applications early.’
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