10 things students should know about the UK graduate labour market


 

As 2019 begins here is a myth busting insight into the graduate recruitment market.

University of Leeds Careers Adviser Suzie Bullock  summarises the keynote speech from the Institute of Student Employers conference delivered in December 2018, by:

Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers, and Charlie Ball, Head of HE Intelligence at Graduate Prospects.  For more information, see the full presentation: 10 things you should know about the graduate recruitment market

So, the UK graduate labour market, what should you know?

  1. It doesn’t exist.
    Instead there is a series of discrete, usually urban regional labour markets that often influences the markets around them.  Remember, most people in the UK are not graduates and most jobs are not at graduate level.
  2. It is quite stable.
    The past is a fairly accurate guide to the future. Graduate jobs next year will probably be the same jobs as last year. Don’t expect radical changes. Graduates should see a steady salary increase.
  3. It doesn’t look too bad right now.
    For graduates, the recession ended in 2013. There is low unemployment among graduates and the postgraduate career development loan system is working. But warning signs are showing.
  4. The B word.
    A recession is looming and that, combined with Brexit, is likely to lead to economic vulnerability. Recruitment is slowing down but the impact on graduates is less.
  5. Place matters.
    London is the biggest graduate job market in the country, followed by: Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – around a third of all graduates started work in these four cities in 2017 .  London is the least cost effective city to live in, Derby is the best, with Sheffield, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton close behind. Graduates are becoming concentrated in larger cities with local towns finding it hard to recruit graduates.  The cost of living is making graduates less mobile – to live in London it is estimated that a starting salary of £29,000 would only just cover the cost of living. This is having an effect on employers and, for example, PwC is moving out of London to more regional centres as they recognised that only a third of graduates wanted to move to London.
  6. Employers are using a mix of approaches to recruitment selection.
    While most employers say they rely more on a competency-based approach, 55% are combining approaches to include competency-based questions alongside strengths- based questions, technical questions and values-based questions. Employers continue to use different approaches to recruitment with 89% of Institute of Student Employers’ organisations reporting that they use assessment centres, 71% use psychometric tests, 71% use face to face interviews, 66% screen CVs, 58% screen by degree classification and 39% screen by phone interview.
  7. There is a significant shortage of graduates now.
    There are severe shortages in these roles: nurses; programmers and software development professionals; HR and recruitment; medical practitioners; welfare and housing associate professionals; business sales executives; IT user support technicians; sales account and business development managers; marketing associate professionals; general and specialist engineers; managers and directors in retail and wholesale; design and development engineers; web design and development professionals; vets; chartered and certified accountants.
  8. Life isn’t fair.
    Former public and independent school pupils dominate the UK labour market. But employers say they want to increase their intake of students from state schools and improve the diversity of their workforce so are trying out blind recruitment techniques and removing potential barriers, such as UCAS points.
  9. Graduate schemes aren’t everything.
    Other options to consider are larger companies recruiting ‘direct to desk’; large companies that aren’t big enough to have a graduate scheme; SMEs; non-graduate roles; and self-employment.  30% of graduates went to work for companies with fewer than 250 employees.
  10. There is a lot we don’t know.
    Most data comes from very early in a graduate’s career. Someone graduating in 2018 is likely to still be working in 2070. Based on those figures, someone retiring now, would have started work in 1966.

Remember, we are here to help you with all things career related;  making choices or plans, supporting you with applications, interviews and more.  See our Careers Centre website for details on how we can help you.

 

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