The 12 stats of Christmas 2022

Dec 14, 2022 | Research, Sector & policy

ISE’s Stephen Isherwood delves into our data to bring you the 12 stats of Christmas that you need to know about from student recruitment and development in 2022.

We may have lost count of the number of different prime ministers and education secretaries of state we’ve had over the last year, but we have kept a grip on student recruitment and development trends.

Here are 12 stats for Christmas that tell you most of what you need to know about the key issues in our sector.

1. Hiring numbers still going up

After a stunning bounce back from pandemic hiring levels and despite a gloomy economic outlook, our Student Recruitment survey showed that hiring is still predicted to grow in 2023 by 9.4% across graduates, school and college leavers. Employer forecasts can sometimes be overly optimistic at the start of the recruiting season, so we’ll closely monitor New Year hiring trends.

2. Is it a buyers’ or a sellers’ market?

In 2022 our survey also showed that unfilled vacancies increased from 5% to 10%, applications per hire dropped by 29 percentage points, and 40% reported difficulty in filling their graduate roles and 30% in filling their school and college leaver roles. But if the current economic forces create recessionary behaviour amongst students and employers, we might be in the middle of one of the most up and down periods in recent history.

3. Grades aren’t everything

For the first time in ISE survey history, fewer than half of employers say they require at least 2:1 degree result from applicants. But if you only get a third, three-quarters of employers will probably reject you. A-level grades are even less significant, only 13% set a minimum UCAS tariff for applicants.

4. More apprentices

Since the introduction of the apprentice levy, the number of young people starting apprenticeships has declined year on year. But for the first time in over seven years, under-19 apprentices starts increased in 2022, up by 19% from 65,150 to 77,520.

5. And fewer undergraduates

At the same time the number of students accepted to universities was 2% lower compared to 2021. But before we assume there is a shift from graduates to apprentices, it’s worth noting that over 420,000 students secured an undergraduate place, which is still is the second highest number on record and still higher than in 2019.


6. EDI internship and placement programmes increase

Employers have increased the use of targeted diversity programmes for seven out of eight characteristics. The most frequent programmes aim to increase ethnic diversity (87% of employers). When it comes to making a difference, three-quarters of employers think staff training is the most effective activity.

7. Females are under-represented on all early talent programmes

Of ISE member intakes, 43% of the school and college leavers were females, 49% of placements and interns were female, and 47% of the graduate cohort was female. But 49% of 18-year-olds are female and 57% of the students who graduate from university are female.

8. Nearly a fifth of hires experience mental health issues

On average, 17% of early careers hires seek mental health support and 5% of hires resign for mental health reasons. Our Development Survey found that 70% of employers reported that demand for mental health support had increased in 2022. As a result, 61% of employers have increased mental health support levels for early talent hires.

9. Graduate salaries are not keeping up with inflation

The typical salary for a graduate in 2022 was £30,921, a rise of only 1.4% from £30,500 last year. With inflation at 8.6%, graduates have effectively taken a 7.3% pay cut from last year. Many employers include a sign-on bonuses or a relocation allowance to starting packages, but graduates are experiencing a real wage decrease compared to previous intakes.

10. AI usage in student recruitment still low

Whilst employers use more testing and use it earlier in the recruitment process, only 9% use AI tools. Situational judgement tests are now more frequently used by employers than numerical, verbal or critical reasoning tests.

11. Recruitment staying online

When asked if their recruitment processes will remain mainly virtual in the future, 48% of employers agreed, and a further 31% were undecided. Employers tell us the advantages and efficiencies of on-line recruiting are lower costs, better use of student and employee time, and for some a greater diversity of hires.

12. But the office is still the future for student hires

Only 18% of employers either ‘strongly agreed’ or just ‘agreed’ with the statement that ‘an increasing number of our entry-level staff will be based at home rather than in the office’. 37% ‘disagreed’ and 11% ‘strongly disagreed’ student hires will work from home.

Have a great festive break and look out for the ISE Annual Development Survey that will be launched at our Student Development Conference in the New Year.

Read the latest ISE research reports


Was this article helpful?


Share This