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Graduate labour market improves further, report university careers and employability services


The annual graduate labour market survey from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) reveals that the vast majority of the leaders of higher education careers and employability services believe that the graduate labour market improved further in 2015.

More than four in five (81.5%) of respondents to the AGCAS Heads of Service Graduate Market and Student Engagement Survey agree that the graduate labour market was more buoyant in the year to 31 July 2015 than the previous year. Heads observed an increase in graduate opportunities in five key sectors: information technology; accounting, banking and finance; business consulting and management; marketing, advertising and PR; and engineering and manufacturing.

Dr Bob Gilworth, AGCAS Director of Research and Director of College Careers Services at The Careers Group, University of London, said:

“This is a survey of the leaders of careers and employability teams from across the UK and Ireland, working day in, day out with students and employers at the forefront of the graduate job market.”

Reports of the death of “the milk round” should not be confused with the health of careers fairs, which the AGCAS survey shows to be alive and well right across the country. Respondents commented that there was a noticeable increase in employer engagement with careers fairs in the year to 31 July 2015, particularly small and specialised careers fairs. The overwhelming majority (over 90%) are organised directly by university careers services and sit alongside many other activities through which careers services engage employers on campus.

Dr Gilworth added:

“Virtually all of the careers services responding to the survey have their own vacancy services, handling thousands of graduate jobs including, but by no means restricted to, the major graduate recruiters featured in other market surveys. Indeed, the sector profile of our survey reflects the very real impact of the inclusion of the many opportunities with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and differs, therefore, from other national surveys which focus exclusively on the largest graduate recruiters.”

In addition to graduate labour market buoyancy, careers service engagement with students prior to their final year also continues, with well over half of respondents reporting a further increase against an already high level of activity. A similar number also reported a continuing increase in student interest in work placements and internships.

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