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Employer demand for graduates set to rise?

Employer demand for graduates set to rise?

The 22nd annual XpertHR survey of graduate recruitment strikes a small note of optimism for the 2011/12 hiring round, despite the fact that employers are still finding it hard to attract high-quality recruits.

Our research indicates that employers are positive about their future graduate recruitment intentions. The findings, based on feedback from 182 employers, show that 75.8% of organisations are currently trying to recruit graduates. An even higher proportion (88.5%) forecast that they will do so in the future.

Across a collective workforce of more than one million, 133 employers said they would take on 164 graduate recruits in the 2011/12 recruitment round. This equates to an average of 31.1 graduates per organisation.

Rachel Snuff, XpertHR author of the report said: “Before the onset of the recession in the UK in 2008, there was generally a healthy balance between the supply of, and demand for, graduates in the labour market.

“Since 2008, that balance has been skewed heavily in favour of supply, with employer demand for graduate recruits having weakened across most sectors of the economy.”

Graduate starting salaries

This XpertHR survey finds that the average rise in employers’ salaries for graduates was 1.8%, a marginal increase on 2010and 2009, when the average increase was 1.4% and 0.8% respectively. Findings for this year show the typical median (or midpoint) rise between 2010/11 and 2011/12 was nil.

On a sectoral basis, starting salary increases for graduates in the manufacturing and production part of the economy are more buoyant than in the other two broad sectors. The 1.0% median increase for manufacturing and production in 2011/12 compares with a 0% increase in both private sector services and the public sector.

Our research finds that starting salaries for graduate recruits will be based on a median (midpoint figure) of &pound24,500 in 2011/12. The average amount will be marginally higher at &pound24,583.

These starting salary levels are significantly higher than those recorded in 2010's survey, which showed a median starting salary of &pound22,550 and an average starting salary of &pound23,174.

According to broad sector, starting salaries are pitched at a considerably lower rate in the public sector - a median of &pound20,000 compared with &pound24,000 in manufacturing and production and &pound25,000 in private sector services. This is not surprising given the challenging financial climate that the public sector is currently experiencing. Starting salaries for graduates have traditionally been lower in the public sector, but the gap with the other two broad sectors has definitely widened since the onset of recession and a tightening of the public sector purse strings.

Candidate attraction

Employers now have a wide range of candidate-attraction tools at their disposal to appeal to potential graduate applicants. The findings show that graduate recruiters make the most of these recruitment avenues, with respondent organisations relying on an average of 4.9 different methods.

The two most popular methods reflect the modern and more traditional approaches: using an internet site run by or for the organisation (76.8% of employers) and notifying vacancies to university careers services (74.8%).

According to our survey, assessment centres are widely seen as the best approach for selecting new graduate recruits (60.4% of employers). Almost four employers in 10 (37%) ranked a first interview as one of their top three selection tools while one in five (21.4%) said that manual sifting against pre-determined criteria was one of the most effective methods.

 

 

Table : graduate starting salaries, 2011/12

Median

Average

Lower quartile

Upper quartile

Salary examples

n

All employers

&pound24,500

&pound24,583

&pound21,000

&pound27,500

294

BROAD ECONOMIC SECTOR

Private sector services

&pound25,000

&pound25,964

&pound23,000

&pound28,500

180

Manufacturing and production

&pound24,000

&pound22,741

&pound21,000

&pound25,000

81

Public sector

&pound20,000

&pound21,573

&pound19,500

&pound26,536

33

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

1 – 249

&pound22,750

&pound22,466

&pound18,000

&pound26,500

42

250 – 999

&pound23,000

&pound23,011

&pound18,870

&pound27,000

65

1,000

&pound25,000

&pound25,604

&pound23,000

&pound27,550

187

The starting salaries shown are based on spot rates or, where a salary range is used, the average in the range.

The meaning of median, average, and lower and upper quartiles is explained in an accompanying file (http://www.xperthr.co.uk/article/75741/.aspx).

n 137 employers’ starting salaries for 294 vacancy types.

Source: XpertHR

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