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Graduate vacancy numbers rise for first time since start of recession


The number of vacancies for graduates increased last year for the first time since the recession began, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

The association said that results of its bi-annual survey showed a 8.9% increase and predicted that the trend would continue in 2011, leading to a 12.7% increase in 2010/11.

The association said that a slow start to the recruitment year had led to initially pessimistic forecasts but that there had been a "surge" in vacancies later in the year.

However, its findings also indicated that average graduate salary had remained at £25,000 and predicted the same figure next year.

Respondents to its poll also indicated that they expected the implementation of the recommendations made in the Browne Review, which included lifting the cap on university fees, to reduce socio-economic diversity and increase salary expectations among graduate recruits.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the association, said: "Although it is currently an employers’ market, we would urge recruiters not to become complacent – particularly as things start to pick up and tuition fee increases take hold.

"It will be essential for organisations to invest in graduate talent if they want to meet recruitment targets, prevent candidate dropout, meet increasing salary expectations and retain the most talented employees."

Consultancy firm Deloitte said that it had taken measures to improve its graduate and school leaver recruitment practices, such as by making a contribution towards tuition fees and creating A-level entry roles.

Their lead graduate recruitment partner, Paul Stephenson, said, "We want to offer an alternative career path to bright students for whom university may not be the desired choice or an available option.

"We will provide the opportunity to embark on a career with exceptional prospects and to gain a full professional business qualification."

Also today recruiters Ernst and Young said that a third of its graduate job offers in 2010 went to candidates that had completed one of its internship programmes.

The firm’s head of graduate recruitment said: "For a future employer work experience also shows that a candidate is serious about their chosen careerpath, has invested time and energy in to pursuing it, and joins the organisation ‘work ready’, with skills they can put to use from day one."