Figures published recently by AGR (the Association of Graduate Recruiters) reveal that while employers predict a four per cent decrease in vacancies for 2001/2002, the downturn is not affecting graduate recruitment in all industries.
Twenty-five per cent of employers plan to increase their intake by between one and 20 places, and a further five per cent plan increases of between 22 and 150 places. The predicted growth in vacancies is highest for retail, hotels and catering (20 per cent) and energy, water/chemical and allied (18 per cent). The sharpest fall in vacancies (56 per cent) is predicted in the electrical and electrical engineering sector (including telecomms).
The report, based on the responses of leading UK employers, also indicates that despite cutbacks and the current economic climate, 43 per cent of graduate recruiters experienced a shortfall for the recruitment year 2000/2001. And as employability skills continue to top the higher education agenda, skills shortages were reported in three out of the five graduate attributes ranked most important by employers – interpersonal skills, initiative/proactivity and oral communication. The other top employer requirements were for graduates to be good team players, motivated and enthusiastic, flexible and adaptable.
Graduate salaries are predicted to continue to rise – by a median of 3.2% for 2001/2002 – suggesting that speculation regarding the state of the economy has not slowed down the war for talent.
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of AGR, says: "It is encouraging that some employers are maintaining their graduate intake despite the economic climate. The lessons learnt in the early 1990s are clearly being taken on board as employers recognise the dangers and cost implications of stopping graduate programmes completely. The downturn is not affecting all industries and there are still graduate jobs out there. But graduates need to be on the ball, flexible about their preferred industry choice and clear about the skills employers are looking for."
|The AGR Salaries and Vacancies Survey 2002 is based on responses provided by 178 AGR members. The survey was published on January 10 2002.
The report is only available to AGR members – press copies are available on request
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of AGR, is available for interview
AGR was established in 1968 and consists of organisations which recruit and employ graduates or which offer services in connection with graduate recruitment. It represents those providing a high proportion of graduate vacancies in the UK and is increasingly involved with research in and around recruitment needs of employers
The report was written by Linda Barber and Jo Regan of the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). IES has been a leading independent centre for applied research and consultancy in employment policy and human resource management for almost 30 years. IES is an independent not for profit organisation and has conducted the biannual Graduate Salaries and Vacancies surveys for the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) since 1985.
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