Graduate jobs fall . . . but pay rises for the lucky ones

The amount of graduate jobs being advertised has fallen by 60.3 per cent year-on-year, with industries such as marketing, construction and recruitment experiencing even larger drops.  

The job board CV-Library analysed data on its some between January 1 and July 30 and compared the findings with the same period in 2019 to build an understanding of the opportunities available to graduates right now. It reveals that university leavers also appear to be giving up on their job hunt, as searches for these roles have dropped by 8.4 per cent year-on-year. 

While applications to graduate jobs are down by 32.8% year-on-year, they have risen in some sectors. In fact, the industries that have seen the biggest increases in applications to graduate jobs are catering (up 57.9%), customer service (up 45%), social care (up 42.9%), IT (up 9%) and the public sector (up 5.4%). 

Despite jobs and applications dropping overall, the average amount of applications per job has increased by 47.2% in the past 12 months; from 16.8 in 2019, to 24.7 in 2020. However, certain industries are more competitive than others as outlined in the table below.

Lee Biggins: Difficult time

CEO Lee Biggins, said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone, not least the newest entrants to the job market, whose career prospects have been shattered by COVID-19. The government is making inroads by creating more job opportunities for young people through its Kickstarter scheme, but whether this is enough remains to be seen.

“Unfortunately, job numbers are down across the board and it’s going to take a very long time until they return to normal levels. As our numbers show, competition for the roles that are available is rife and graduates will be under a lot of pressure to impress employers throughout the recruitment process.” 

The analysis shows that the average salary for graduate currently sits at £24,626 per annum; and this is 7.1% higher than it was a year ago. Alongside this, certain industries pay above-average wages for graduate positions, including: the public sector (£34,000), retail (£33,550), property (£30,235), catering (£27,500), IT (£27,290), accounting/finance (£27,074), media (£26,958), legal (£26,738), design (£26,266) and sales (£26,002). 

In addition, the findings show that graduate salaries are also highest in London (£27,259), Newcastle (£27,250), Southampton (£26,677), Edinburgh (£24,857) and Manchester (£24,740). 

Biggins adds: “It’s a promising sign that pay is up across these major industries and locations, but this is isn’t a trend that we’re expecting to continue. Unfortunately, the purse strings are tightening for many organisations and while it’s not unusual for salaries to fluctuate depending on the sector or location you work in, it’s not sustainable given the current economic situation.”