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Graduate vacancies predicted to rise, despite skills shortages

Employers predict an 11.9% rise in graduate vacancies in the coming year, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

This is an increase of 4.3% compared with the same time last year.

The AGR’s annual survey, which this year is based on the responses of 201 of its members, also found that 44.8% of employers had unfilled vacancies in 2013/14.

Unfilled vacancies were highest in the IT/Telecoms sector, where 11.8% of graduate vacancies remained open. Employers cited students reneging on offers, or not being able to find the skills they needed as reasons for these vacancies staying open.

AGR chief executive Stephen Isherwood, said “tensions persist” in the graduate recruitment market. “Employers would have recruited more graduates – over 1,400 more – if they could have found enough candidates with the right mix of skills,” he said.

The survey also indicates that organisations are increasingly recruiting young people at school leaver level, as well as at graduate level. Almost three-quarters (72.7%) of respondents said they plan to offer school leaver recruitment programmes in 2014/15, up from 54.7% in 2012/13.

Isherwood commented: “More employers engaging with the schools market is a good thing. It means businesses are thinking more holistically about their talent strategies. It also means a greater variety of opportunities for young people”.

Key sectors for graduate recruitment

According to the research, the top five sectors for graduate recruitment are:

1. Accountancy or professional services
2. Public sector
3. Engineering
4. Retail
5. Banking or financial services