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Graduate recruitment set to increase but only for those with work experience, according to High Fliers

Employers expect to hire 6.4% more graduates in 2012 than they did in 2011 but graduates who have no work experience at all whilst at university stand little or no chance of getting a job offer from the country’s most prestigious graduate employers.

The Graduate Market in 2012 - a study of graduate vacancies and starting salaries at Britain's one hundred leading employers conducted by High Fliers Research in December 2011, found a record 36% of this year's graduate vacancies are expected to be filled by applicants who have already worked for the organisation during their studies.

Half the employers included in the research have increased their graduate recruitment targets for 2012 and there are additional roles on offer in nine of the 14 industries and employment areas featured in the report. Despite the recruitment freeze at many Government departments and agencies, graduate vacancies in the public sector are expected to increase by a fifth this year - in part because of the expansion of the Teach First scheme which is set to hire 1,000 graduates for the first time in 2012. There are also more opportunities at engineering & industrial companies, IT & telecommunication firms, high street banks, investment banks and retailers.

On average, employers have received 19% more applications for their graduate programmes this year, with some recruiters reporting double the usual volume of applicants in the early part of their 2011-2012 recruitment campaign. A number of well-known organisations have already closed?off the application process for their 2012 positions. In 2011, recruiters received an average of 48 applications per graduate vacancy.

The majority of employers are not planning to increase their graduate remuneration in 2012 - the average graduate starting salary remains at £29,000 for the third year running.

Despite the widespread recruitment freeze at Government departments & agencies, public sector employers are planning to expand their graduate intake by 21.9% in 2012, an increase of almost 500 additional roles year-on-year.

There will also be a substantial rise in the number of graduate jobs available at engineering & industrial companies (up 22.4% compared to 2011), IT & telecommunications firms (up 31.6%), high street banks (up 16.0%) & retailers (up 11.5%).

Although these recruitment targets for 2012 are encouraging and build on the increases in vacancies seen in 2011 and 2010, graduate recruitment at the UK's leading employers remains below pre-recession levels. Across all the organisations featured within the research, graduate recruitment in 2012 is still 6% below that recorded in 2007. By contrast, an extra 50,000 new graduates are expected to leave university in the summer of 2012, compared

The five universities most-often targeted by Britain's top graduate employers in 2011-2012 are Manchester, London (including Imperial College, University College and the London School of Economics) Cambridge, Nottingham and Oxford.

Virtually all of the UK's leading graduate employers are offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates during the 2011-2012 academic year - a total of 11,296 places are available.

Managing director of High Fliers Research, Martin Birchall said: ?"With a record number of students due to finish university in 2012, it's very welcome news that Britain's best-known and most sought-after employers are offering more graduate vacancies this year, especially considering the continuing uncertainty about the wider economic outlook. ?But today's report includes the stark warning to the 'Class of 2012' that in a highly competitive graduate job market, new graduates who've not had any work experience at all during their time at university have little hope of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer, irrespective of the academic results they achieve or the university they've attended."