man workingA recent survey suggests that the number of jobs available for new graduates has shrunk by 8% since 2015.

An annual survey conducted by The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) shows that for the first time in four years, the graduate job market has shrunk due to employers reducing their recruitment drives.

After surveying over 200 employers, AGR found that there were 19,732 vacancies to fill for 2016 compared to 21,427 in 2015. Positions in construction, retail and engineering had fallen the most, whereas IT and telecoms was the only sector in which vacancies increased compared to last year.

When companies were asked their three biggest worries for the next recruitment season, unsurprisingly Brexit ranked top, followed by competition for skilled people and then the impact of the new apprenticeship levy to be paid by all large employers from next April.

Over one in 10 companies said they were repackaging some graduate roles as higher-level apprenticeships because of this levy.

AGR said that graduates need not despair at these figures however. “The majority of graduate employers are still hiring in significant numbers,” said AGR’s chief executive, Stephen Isherwood.

Isherwood also cautioned against overplaying the drop in vacancies. “What we found in the financial crisis was that employers were struggling to get the message out that they were still recruiting and that it wasn’t armageddon out there.”


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