A poll of more than 18,000 finalists at 30 leading UK universities conducted by High Fliers has found that an increasing number of students are applying for jobs nearly a year prior to graduation.

This academic year, 43% of finalists made job applications by the end of October, compared to 31% five years ago. Three-quarters of students are now also researching their career options before they reach their final year. A quarter of those starting job hunting early began looking in their first year of study, and a further fifth prior to starting their degree.

London remains the top destination for job-seeking graduates (50%), followed by 23% who hoped to secure a graduate job overseas. On average, a starting graduate salary of £23,000 was expected.

Managing Director of High Fliers Research, Martin Birchal said: “Finding a graduate job after university is no longer something that students do their final year of study. Nearly half of those graduating this summer from the ‘class of 2014’ had started researching their career options by the end of their first year at university”.

Find out more about career planning as a first yearsecond yearfinalist or graduate.

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