UK graduates see salaries up but vacancies remain flatFollow @PwC_NI
The average starting salary for a graduate in the UK is now £26,500, according to survey data from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).
AGR published the summer edition of its bi-annual survey today (Wednesday 4 July), which says graduate starting salaries have edged up by around 6%, after three consecutive years of salary standstill from 2009-2011.
The survey also shows that there are fewer applications per place this year, down to an average of 73 per vacancy following an unprecedented high of 83 applications per vacancy last year.
The quality of applications had increased, suggesting that graduates are taking their time to be more selective and thorough in their applications.
Nevertheless, the graduate market remains challenging, with some 400,000 UK graduates looking for their first job in 2012.
“While overall applications per job are down, the services sector remains in great demand across the UK.
“Last year an average of 55 graduates applied for every UK banking job; 62 for each retail vacancy and there were over 200 graduate applicants for every graduate vacancy in some parts of the consumer sector.
“Across the UK PwC received 40,000 applications at experienced level and 33,000 at student and graduate level in the last year, for around 2500 jobs.
“Employers look for graduates who can demonstrate they have the team working, communications and reasoning skills essential for modern work environments; just having a degree is no longer enough to demonstrate that.”
PwC is Northern Ireland’s largest graduate recruiter, taking around 100 graduates annually and sponsoring the region’s Degree Plus programme.
Degree Plus helps Queen’s University graduates differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive graduate labour market through working to gain key employability skills in parallel with their degree course.
As well as experience, the quality of degree is also an issue for recruiters and the AGR survey confirms that a 2:1 degree classification remains the most common selection criteria used by graduate recruiters, with 76% of UK employers using it as minimum entry standard for graduates.
This has increased from 73% last year, with around 64% of all graduates achieving a 2:1 or better, however Paul Terrington says the local market is producing more graduates than vacancies:
“Northern Ireland employers are competing for the best graduates in exactly the same way as graduates are competing for job opportunities with the region’s leading employers.
“Around one-in-five of Northern Ireland’s young people unemployed with youth unemployment up by around 150% since 2008; this, coupled with lack of business and investment confidence, has put pressure on graduate employment opportunities.
Email: John Compton
Tel: +44 (0)28 9041 5663