Graduate prospect

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STARTING salaries for graduates are set to rise by six per cent to an average of £26,500, while the jobs market is starting to stabilise, according to new research.

A study among 215 employers across the UK found that three years of graduate salaries standing still will come to an end.

The number of graduates chasing every vacancy has fallen from last year’s high of 83, although there are still 73 applications for every job.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) said its six-monthly survey showed that vacancies for graduates are predicted to fall by 0.6 per cent in the coming months, lower than previously expected.

Employers said the quality of applications had increased.

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: “It is reassuring to see that employers are investing in graduate talent. The significant rise in starting salaries to £26,500 will be very good news indeed to students, who are bracing themselves to take on higher levels of debt as tuition fees rise to £9,000 from September this year.

“With the continuing uncertainty in the eurozone, it is encouraging to see that employers are still talent-planning for the future and that the number of graduate vacancies is remaining constant.

“Naturally, businesses will be thinking carefully about where best to invest, and I would argue that, where graduate schemes are concerned, you really do get out what you put in.

“Businesses that create a programme which goes beyond mere training, and gives graduates the opportunity to engage in a meaningful, hands-on way with the organisation will find that they are rewarded with enthusiasm and long-term commitment by well-selected graduates.”

A separate study by High Fliers Research predicted an increase in graduate vacancies this year, with vacancies in the public sector are expected to increase by a fifth this year, and jobs in accounting and professional services, and engineering also on the rise.