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Heads of higher education careers services report a healthy graduate job market in 2016, despite challenges of Brexit

Around 70% of respondents to the Annual AGCAS Graduate Labour Market and Student Engagement Survey reported an increase in graduate vacancies and saw the market as generally more buoyant than the previous year.

Improved offerings

In the last year careers services have improved their offering to students and increased engagement with businesses. This has resulted in a diversification of employers at careers fairs and increased engagement from students. Some 90% of careers services said they now offered other on-campus employer activities alongside careers fairs, with 6 out of 10 increasing this activity in 2015/16. This demonstrates the dedication of AGCAS members to diversifying their offering to reflect the real market and the breadth of students’ interests.

New trends 

The continuing trend towards increased engagement with small and medium-sized enterprises is evident from the survey. This has helped those firms to recruit and has, in turn, helped more graduates enter professional jobs. Heads reported a significant increase in vacancies in the IT sector, along with increases in engineering. However, heads also reported a decrease in vacancies in media, the public sector and energy-related sectors.

Some three quarters of careers services now manage placements and internships in their institutions, with half reporting higher proportions of students and graduates taking up placements/internship opportunities in 2015/16 than the previous year. This would seem to reflect the acknowledged importance of work experience for students, employers and careers services alike.

Overall, the picture in Scotland and the North of England was more positive than in London and the South of England. Heads based in larger institutions were more positive than heads in smaller institutions.

Dr Bob Gilworth, AGCAS Director of Research and Knowledge, said:

“Despite some reports of Brexit-related uncertainty, the graduate market remained relatively buoyant in 2016 with more than 70% of HE careers service heads reporting improvements on the previous year. The impact of the growth of Degree Apprenticeships started to show through to some extent. On-campus employer activity continued to grow and diversify, with over 90% of heads attributing this to business development by their teams. This demonstrates the continuing commitment of AGCAS member services to working closely with employers of all kinds, including increased interaction with small and medium-sized enterprises.”


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Tags: labour market graduate graduate labour market Graduate Labour Market and Student Engagement Survey University

Created on: 06 January 2017

Last updated: 26 January 2017


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© Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services 2017