The key findings from The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2014 about the ‘Class of 2014’ are:
- The percentage of final year students from the UK’s leading universities expected to start a full-time graduate job straight after university has increased to 25%, the highest proportion since 2002. A further 17% said they would be looking for a graduate job once they had completed their studies and 3% planned to run their own business.
- Postgraduate study and travel remain popular alternatives to employment for new graduates, with 24% of final year students hoping to go on to further study and 14% planning to take time off or go travelling after graduation.
- Three-quarters of this year’s graduates began researching their career options before the start of their last year at university, the highest proportion ever recorded by The UK Graduate Careers Survey. By comparison, just 57% of those graduating in 2008, 61% of finalists in 2010 and 64% of university-leavers in 2012 started looking for a graduate job before their final year of studies.
- 41% of finalists from the ‘Class of 2014’ had done an internship or other vacation work with a graduate employer whilst at university, the fourth consecutive year that participation in work experience has risen – only 26% of final year students who graduated in 2010 had completed internships or work placements.
- A record 43% of this year’s finalists made job applications to graduate employers almost a year before graduation – applying for graduate vacancies in September or October at the beginning of their final year at university. A total of 62% of finalists had made graduate job applications by March of this year.
- The average number of graduate job applications made by finalists has increased from 5.7 applications per student in 2009-2010 and 6.9 applications per student in 2011-2012 to an all-time high of 7.5 applications per student in 2013-2014. In total, students at the thirty universities included in the survey have made an estimated 463,000 job applications this year, up from 360,000 in 2012 and 257,000 in 2010 – an increase of more than 75% in five years.
- A quarter of final year students who’d made graduate job applications by the time the survey took place in March had received definite job offers from graduate employers, the highest percentage reported by The UK Graduate Careers Survey since its launch in 1995. This is the fourth year running that the success rate for applications has increased – 22% of applicants for graduate jobs received offers in 2013, compared with 16% in 2011 and 13% in 2009.
- For the third year running, marketing is the most popular destination for new graduates, ahead of jobs in consulting, the media and teaching.
- London remains the preferred employment destination for final year students at 27 out of the 30 universities included in the survey, with 50% of all student job hunters hoping to work in the capital after graduation.
- The average expected starting salary for new graduates has risen to £23,000, only the second time since the beginning of the recession that expectations have increased. But on average, this year’s university-leavers anticipate earning just £300 more than the ‘Class of 2008’ expected six years ago.
- More than half of students who left their graduate job search until the final year of their studies were unsure what they could do after university and realised they should have started job hunting earlier.
Managing director of High Fliers Research, Martin Birchall commented:
“Our latest research confirms just how dramatically the process of getting a graduate job has changed over the last five years. Finding a first graduate job for after university is no longer something that students do in their final few months of study – nearly half of those graduating this summer from the ‘Class of 2014’ had started researching their career options by the end of their first year at university and record numbers of students made their job applications to employers up to a year before graduation. It’s great to see that although the job market for university-leavers remains highly competitive, more new graduates than ever have managed to secure a definite job offer before leaving university.”