Graduate jobs market to expand in 2018

Jan 10, 2018 | Sector & policy

Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our Student Recruitment Pulse Survey this year.
It enables us to provide insight on the number of unfilled vacancies in 2017 and provide informed projections for 2018. Here’s what we found.

We had a resounding response with 103 employer members taking part. They hired 12,994 graduates and 4,937 apprentices in 2017.

 This year employers expect to increase their graduate job vacancies by 11%, offering an additional 1,423 graduate jobs1.

This marks a return to double-digit growth in the graduate jobs market, which was last evident pre-Brexit vote. In 2015 graduate vacancies grew 13%, compared to an 8% decrease in 2016 and 1% increase in 2017.

As employers responded to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, apprenticeship vacancies have continually increased during the same period, making up for some of the shortfall.

In 2016 the number of apprenticeships increased by 13% and they rose by 19% in 2017. Compared to last year, employers are expecting to offer 1,501 more apprenticeships – a growth rate of 32%1.

Efforts to fill vacancies and reduce reneged offers have paid off for many employers. Just 38% of employers didn’t fill their vacancies in 2017, compared to 52% in 2016. Last year 4% of offers were reneged, compared to 7% in 2016.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the ISE said:

“Over the last couple of years the recruitment season has been heavily influenced by the Brexit vote and nervousness over the economy, but we’re now seeing a return to normal state of play. There’s a positive mood from employers in this space at the moment and students should feel reassured by this renewed confidence. There are around 20 per cent more vacancies overall this year. If you have the right mix of skills, there are lots of opportunities and students should feel confident to go for it.”

The ISE survey showed growth across a range of sectors. Particularly buoyant were the public sector, IT, and energy, water or utilities sectors with a 22%, 18%, and 13% expected increase in graduate vacancies respectively.

Here’s what some members had to say

“We need more junior talent to help our business continually adapt to the market. The highly agile workforce coming out of university is an attractive one for many organisations. The IT and digital sector specifically needs the influx of fresh skills, effectively blank canvasses, that they can help shape and continuously evolve over their careers.” 
Mark Jackson, EMEIA Lead for Internal Mobility and Junior Talent Acquisition at Fujitsu

“At Severn Trent we’re operating within an ever-evolving industry, that brings with it a competitive market for skills and capability. We believe that part of our successful growth is down to providing desirable graduate programmes that deliver well-structured, established routes into our organisation, as well as being dedicated to developing new talent and growing future skills in order to be successful.”
Matt Higgs, New Talent Programme Manager at Severn Trent

“I have found that the number of graduates vacancies has risen again for 2018 in Thales. The Levy impact in 2016 and 2017 saw us move around a third of graduate roles over to degree apprenticeships, but given the choice, many of the business units are still holding steady to their commitment to graduate hires. We see the blend of differing early career entry routes as important for the diversity of ideas and innovation this generation bring to the organisation. The academic knowledge and experience obtained through the university route remains attractive to many of my hiring managers.” Laura Nielsen, Head of Emerging Talent at Thales

“Our clients are seeing increasing technical challenges which they need to respond to, with many factors at play including new regulations shaping whole sectors and company restructures. All of these factors are increasing demand for people with technical skills, which is lifting the demand for graduates.” 
Kate Croucher, UK University Partnerships Manager at FDM Group

1 Annual comparisons are based on employers with data available for 2017 and 2018

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