Major employers plan to recruit around 1,200 extra U.K. graduates this year, sending recruitment in the country to a seven-year high, according to a report out on Monday.
Following a survey of 100 leading public and private and non-governmental organizations, High Fliers Research found that graduate recruitment would rise by 8.7 percent in 2014, the biggest annual gain in four years. Companies surveyed include FTSE 100 and Dow mainstays such as General Electric, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, BAE Systems, Barclays and Tesco.
People stand outside the Job Centre in Chatham, in south-east EnglandAdrian Dennis | AFP | Getty Images
"This very significant increase in graduate vacancies at Britain's top employers means the job prospects for graduates leaving university this year are the best they've been since the start of the recession seven years ago," said Martin Birchall, the managing director of High Flier Research, which specializes in student and graduate recruitment research.
Employers in 11 out of 13 major employment areas are preparing to take on more new graduates this year, with the biggest increases seen in recruitment at public sector employers, accounting and professional services firms, investment banks, retailers and engineering and industrial companies.
The largest individual recruiter of graduates will be Teach First, an initiative that recruits graduates to teach in disadvantaged schools, which will have 1,550 vacancies to fill. "Big four" professional services firms PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Deloitte will offer 1,200 and 1,000 places respectively.
On the downside, the median starting salary for new graduates remains unchanged at £29,000 ($47,664) for the fifth year running. The most generous salaries are offered by investment banks (median of £45,000), banking and finance firms (£33,000) and energy companies (£32,500).
The highest published graduate starting salaries for 2014 are at the European Commission (£41,500) and German supermarket chain Aldi (£41,000).
(Slideshow: The Top 10 Universities for Billionaire Alumni)
Employers said that over one-third (37 percent) of this year's entry-level positions would be filled by graduates who had already worked for their organizations, either through paid internships, vacations jobs, or industrial placements. More than half of the recruiters warned that graduates with no work experience had "little or no chance" or receiving a job offer.