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Graduate schemes give five-fold return on investment, research confirms


Employers can enjoy a five-fold return on investment from recruiting graduates, new research reveals.

According to a study by Anthony Hesketh of Lancaster University Management School as part of the Backing Young Britain Campaign, within three years of launching a mid-sized graduate recruitment programme, employers benefitted from a  £5.30 return for every £1 invested.

The news comes as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced more than 1,000 graduate vacancies will be available at the accountancy firm in 2010.

The majority of vacancies will be in the firm's assurance practice, followed by advisory, and tax.

The programme will recruit for a graduate generalist programme working in tax or assurance to train as a chartered accountant; a graduate specialist programme, providing opportunities in strategy consulting; and in the actuarial business with training for a relevant qualification.

Over 100 new vacancies will be available in the advisory team, to meet the firm's management consulting growth strategy - including 20 starting in January 2010.

More than 200 internship vacancies will also be available, expanding to include a new consulting internship programme

And PwC will offer a summer business academy for first-year undergraduates and an international internship programme linking UK students to the firm's network in America, Germany, Australia and China.

In 2009, the PwC online Employability Skills Clinic received over 50,000 visits in six months, providing tools and tips for students to assess their skills and achievements against employers' expectations and business needs, putting them in the best position to get a job.

Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "Investing in young people is not only commercially sensible, it is also the right thing to do on many levels.  We held our nerve in the market and maintained our recruitment levels, because no matter what the current economic conditions, recognising and developing talented people puts business in the best position in the recovery.

"The UK's long-term economic prosperity is in the hands of this generation, and failing to maintain our investment and confidence in their skills now will pay business a poor dividend in the long term."

Sonja Stockton, PwC's head of recruitment, added: "If anything, the war for talent has got more intense rather than less in the recession, for graduates and employers alike. This year's recruitment campaign is not about maintaining our numbers, it's about our ambition and growth in the market. Talented, enterprising people matching academic achievement with confidence in their skills, ability to learn and contribute will be recognised by our business.

"Students are learning some of the hardest business lessons of their life now so the employability skills campaign gives them the tools to put them in the best position to get a job."