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Keep calm and carry on

The Association of Graduate Recruiters today released the findings from their latest study, revealing some interesting statistics.

  • Figures show the number of students leaving university with a first has more than doubled over the last decade. One-in-six students now leave with a first.
  • According to the AGR, an average of 73 students are applying for every graduate position this year, although the number rises to 154 among those vying for jobs in the retail industry and 142 for investment banking posts.
  • Together, the 215 employers surveyed are preparing to offer almost 21,200 vacancies this year, down by 0.6 per cent in 12 months, it emerged.
  • The AGR report also found that rising numbers of employers were analysing graduates’ socio-economic backgrounds as part of the recruitment process.

What does this mean for you?

With competition this year for graduate positions fiercer than ever how do you maximise your chances?

Think positively

The worst thing to do at this point is to adopt a negative attitude or think you are never going to get a job, this will be identified instantly by a future employer in an interview. A positive, forward thinking attitude is one of the first things any employer will look for so make sure that your job search doesn’t get you down.

Be proactive

With huge amounts of graduates applying for every role, you will need to be dedicated and thorough in your job search. The ‘sit back’ approach will not work. Monitor new jobs coming on to the market and apply early as possible. Keep up to date with jobs news as many companies will announce new hires in the press. Most importantly, speak to specialist recruiters to ensure that you get put forward for relevant jobs and get the support you need.


If you get through to an interview stage you will then have the chance to shine, do not waste this! Make sure that you are fully briefed on the company, its history and its plans for the future. Be clear on your goals and why you would be a good fit for the role and the company culture. Finally, make sure you have intelligent questions to ask and do not be afraid to ask these throughout the interview, not just at the end.

Silver lining

Don’t panic when you look at the statistics, look to the bigger picture and things are not as bad as they seem. The study also revealed some good news - the average starting salary for graduates is set to rise higher by 6%. We have also seen some positive news in the graduate recruitment field with Deloitte announcing an increase in their graduate intake and other companies looking to do the same.

We wish you the best of luck in your search and remember to keep calm and carry on!