A study of the graduate job market for 2011 has concluded that the top 100 UK employers are expected to increase their graduate recruitment by a total of 9.4% on 2010 figures, with more than 80% of companies maintaining or increasing their graduate recruitment budgets. The study, conducted by High Fliers Research, assessed the number of graduate vacancies and starting salaries at one hundred of the UK’s most successful employers.
The University of Manchester is among the top five universities being targeted by employers in the extremely competitive graduate employment market in 2011, where employers are receiving, on average, 45 applications for every graduate position.
Of the 100 companies, the largest employers will be the ‘Big 4’ professional services firms: KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst and Young and Teach First, a scheme that places graduates in teaching positions before moving onto different fields. Elsewhere, high street banks are increasing recruitment by nearly 25% whilst investment banks and accountancy and professional services firms will also be hiring substantially more graduates this year. Across different sectors, 13 of 14 key industries will be increasing their recruitment. The exception is public sector employers where recruitment has already fallen and is expected to be fall further following severe government cuts.
Findings have reaffirmed the importance of work experience, which the vast majority of firms surveyed offer. Up to a third of graduate positions across these companies will be filled by students who have already completed some sort of work experience with the company. This figure is even higher in the fields of law and Investment Banking. In these areas over half of graduate positions will be filled by people who had already completed work experience with the firm. In addition, up to two thirds of graduate employers have warned that students with a complete absence of work experience are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and face little to no chance of gaining a graduate position within their company.
Starting salaries across the top 100 employers for 2011 will remain the same as the 2010 figures with a median of £29000. One in four graduates will have a starting salary over £30000 and 7% will start on over £40000. The most lucrative salaries are to be offered by investment banks with an average starting salary of £42000. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest paid starting salaries lie with public sector employers and retailers.
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