Graduates have reasons for optimism - despite recession
The graduate labour market is holding up well compared to the last quarter of 2011, according to university careers and employability professionals. Responding to the regular vacancy survey carried out by AGCAS, 80% of heads of careers services said that, in their experience, the graduate labour market was more buoyant (35%) or the same (45%) in the quarter ending 31 March 2012 when compared to the last quarter. 60% said it was more buoyant (50%) or the same (10%) compared to the same period last year.
Ups and downs
For the second quarter running, respondents reported particular shortages of candidates who are well-qualified for careers in IT and engineering, along with increased numbers of vacancies in retail and fast-moving consumer goods. Some careers and employability services also reported a somewhat improved picture in architecture and construction. Recruitment activity in the public sector was again widely reported to be down.
Not all of the increase in vacancies was put down to the economy. A number of universities said that they had improved their systems for advertising vacancies, which had made them more attractive to recruiters. Others reported that they had become more successful at engaging with small and medium-sized employers (SMEs) or that employers were reporting that they were impressed by the quality of their graduates.
AGCAS President, Anne-Marie Martin, Director of The Careers Group, University of London, said:
"Although we know the economy is still in recession, there appear to be causes for optimism. There are still jobs out there and it's important to get that message across.
However, the graduate labour market is still very competitive. Our advice to students and graduates is: do your research; consider smaller employers as well as well-known companies; develop and learn how to articulate your skills; get work experience; write the best application you possibly can and prepare well for interviews. University careers and employability services can help with all of these.
It's not surprising that some AGCAS members say that interest from employers has improved. Astute universities are putting more resources into the employability of graduates. Careers services can help put recruiters of all sizes and sectors in touch with highly skilled and motivated candidates."
The AGCAS quarterly report differs from those published by AGR and High Fliers, which survey only recruiters for larger companies' graduate training schemes. Universities carry all types of graduate vacancies for organisations from across the economic spectrum, including smaller companies and the not-for-profit sector.
Journalists wishing to arrange an interview with a senior representative of AGCAS, the voice of careers and employability professionals, should contact Chris Jackson (tel: 0191 240 3525).
Created on: 27 April 2012
Last updated: 27 April 2012