One in four graduate vacancies have disappeared and competition for graduate roles has intensified with 48 applicants for each role.
According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), vacancies have plummeted by 24.9% in the latest recruitment round.
More than nine out of 10 employers (91.9%) expect to fill all their vacancies this year, but the quality of job applicants is higher as graduates rise to the challenge, the research suggests.
The average graduate salary is £25,000 with no change expected for 2010.
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "I wish we had better news to announce today but we cannot hide the fact that dramatic vacancy cuts will make the job search very tough for graduates both this year and probably next year too.
"But it is important to look at this in context and point out very few employers have abandoned their graduate recruitment programmes altogether and most are likely to reinstate recruitment levels at the first sign of an upturn in the economy."
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