The graduate job market has shrunk for the first time in four years, dropping eight per cent year on year, according to a new survey.
According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Annual Survey, there were 19,732 positions to fill during 2016, compared to 21,427 last year. Vacancies across the construction, retail and engineering sectors have decreased the most.
The results show that throughout the industry, only the IT and Telecommunications sector had increased; up five per cent on last year.
The decline in graduate vacancies is being lessened by an increase in apprenticeships. However, this is not enough to make up for the shortfall.
Amongst graduate employers, the number of apprenticeships has increased by 13 per cent this year, with a total of 10,095 opportunities available.
Over one in ten employers have said that they are rebranding some graduate roles as higher apprenticeships, due to the Apprenticeship Levy. The levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to make an investment into apprenticeships.
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.”
AGR’s annual survey provides an extensive insight into the state of the graduate and school leaver job market. The survey is based on the responses of 208 AGR members in the UK, from more than 17 sectors and with more than 2.5 million staff.