The first confirmed graduate recruitment figures published today have revealed the reality of the UK job market, and it makes for grim reading.
According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), which published the summer edition of its bi-annual survey today, graduate jobs have been cut by one quarter this year approaching levels not seen since the last recession in 1991 and far exceeding the modest dip of 5.4% predicted by the same recruiters in February.
In addition to fewer jobs the report also revealed stagnant salary levels and increased competition. Even the engineering sector has experienced vacancy cuts of over 40% and eight sectors have experienced reductions amounting to hundreds of recruits, with IT and banking worst hit.
The only sector to buck the trend is energy, water or utilities with a 7.1% rise in vacancies. The vast majority of employers (91.9%) are expecting to fill all of their vacancies this year with recruitment shortfalls of previous years now a distant memory.
Carl Gilleard, Chief Executive of the AGR, said: “I wish we had better news to announce today but we cannot hide from the fact that dramatic vacancy cuts will make the job search very tough for graduates both this year and probably next year too.
"However, it is important to look at this in context and to point out that very few employers have abandoned their graduate recruitment programmes altogether and most are likely to reinstate recruitment levels at the first sign of an upturn in the economy.”