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Graduate Recruitment: AGR 2011

Insights into the recovery - Dennis Turner, Chief Economist HSBC

The first key note speaker of this year’s Annual Graduate Recruitment conference was Dennis Turner, the Chief Economist at HSBC, who kick-started our Monday morning by confidently announcing that the recession is over.

Echoes of “phew” could be heard throughout the grand hall, closely followed by.. “really?” (myself included). It seems to me that every morning, BBC news is telling me that another of our favourite high-street stores has been forced into administration, surely a sign that consumer spending is still far lower three years ago. Consumer spending is the driving force of our economy (even I knew that; one take-away, at least, from my first year economics module), so surely then with the negative growth we experienced at the end of 2010 the recession can’t be over?

Not so, Dennis proclaimed. Not, in any recession since 1945, has a period of recovery gone without any negative growth. Undoubtedly, consumer confidence is still fragile, but does still account for two-thirds of all spending in our economy. There will not be a double-dipp recession, and there certainly won’t be an ‘L-shaped’ recession, Dennis told us knowingly, and his insights were to set the tone of the following speeches and discussions about how this maps into the UK’s graduate recruitment. The AGR results mirror Dennis’ outlook, with an increase in vacancies available to graduates predicted, as well as a small increase in graduate salary, despite a two year stagnation. It’s worth noting here that the AGR found the retail sector remains the 2nd largest recruiter of graduates this year, suggesting that consumer spending is indeed back on track.

Emily Gasche is a consultant on the FreshMinds Talent Graduate team