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Graduate job market changes for 2012

New report by High Fliers Research reveals new trends on the Graduate job market for 2012.


According to a new report, the UK graduate job market is set to expand, but will benefit those with relevant work experience. What can international students do to prepare for this scenario? Hotcourses suggests a few tips.

Despite the uncertain economic outlook, there will be more graduate vacancies available for university-leavers in 2012, a recent report by High Fliers Research shows. Employers, some of them classified in the ‘100 Best companies to work for’ in 2011 expect to hire 6.4% more graduates in 2012 than they did in 2011.

Applications for graduate posts at the UK’s leading 100 employers starting in 2012 have risen by 19 per cent so far compared to 2011, foreseeing intense competition in the graduate job market in coming years.

The report also shows changing trends in the sectors with more entry level vacancies available for recent graduates. Some of these sectors are: Accounting and professional services (26% of the total), high street and investment banks (15.7%) and retailers (7.9%). IT and telecommunication firms as well as the public sector with their Teach First scheme (11.4%) also account for increases.

Employers have stated that they have received on average 19% more applications for their graduate programmes this year, with some recruiters reporting double the usual volume of applicants in the early part of their 2011-2012 recruitment campaign. A number of well-known organisations have already closed off the application process for their 2012 positions.

Additionally, the report also warned graduates that their chances of success will be limited unless they had completed some form of internship or work experience. In the presence of such increment on the number of applications, the companies surveyed have stated their preference for graduates with previous work experience.  

A record 36% of this year’s graduate vacancies are expected to be filled by applicants who have already worked for the organisation during their studies. “New graduates who’ve not had any work experience at all during their time at university have little hope of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer, irrespective of the academic results they achieve or the university they’ve attended,” said Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research.


How can international students prepare for this scenario?

The possibility to gain valuable work experience and line up a potential job after studying abroad still remains popular among international students. However, it seems that gaining first-hand experience is getting even more complicated amid a highly competitive job market.

Being aware of the great advantages that as international students you have is vital to promote yourself to recruiters. Speaking a second language, previous employment in your home country and the life-changing experience of being a student abroad are great assets that might attract prospective employers.

However, it is important to be aware of current trends. Work experience seems to have notably increased in relevance for recruiters. Securing an internship post could lead to a full time employment in the company you interned for or any other prospective employer.

Check with your university about what internship schemes you can apply for before leaving university. You can visit the careers service of your university or speak to your tutors to find out where to find opportunities available depending on your area.


Useful websites


Graduate talent pool

Student job

Freelance student



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Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd