The UK graduate job market has shrunk for the first time in four years, as companies scale back their recruitment efforts in the wake of the Brexit result, according the
Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).
The group’s annual survey recorded an 8% drop from last year in the number of graduate-level vacancies among the 154 companies who took part in the research.
The survey found that the companies had 19,732 positions to fill for 2016, compared to 21,427 last year.
Here is the chart, broken down by sector:
Vacancies in construction, retail and engineering have decreased the most. The figures come after four years of healthy growth in the graduate recruitment market. Last year, graduate jobs increased by 13% on the previous year.
The news is not all bad, though: part of the reason for the drop is a rise in the number of apprenticeships. An apprenticeship is when a person learns a trade while also earning a wage.
Among graduate employers, the number of apprenticeships has increased by 13% this year to 10,095, partly driven by the Apprenticeship Levy, a government scheme being introduced next year which will collect money from businesses to fund apprenticeships.
Overall, however, the combined number of vacancies for graduate jobs and apprenticeships is still down by 3% on last year.
Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the AGR said: “The labour market for young people is shrinking for the first time since the financial crisis, but the composition of the market is also changing as employers invest more in school leaver programmes and apprenticeships.
“The uncertainty of Brexit is the single biggest challenge facing recruiters in the year ahead. Competition for skills and the looming Apprenticeship Levy are also significant concerns. While there remain thousands of vacancies available for university graduates, school leavers will find many more different options open to them for high quality jobs,” he said.
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