There will be more jobs for new graduates in 2013, a survey of leading employers suggests.
The latest High Fliers study suggests that top employers plan to hire 18,306 graduates in 2013, some 2.7% more than last year.
In addition employers will provide paid work experience places for 11,387 students and new graduates.
The report warns that graduates without work experience will struggle to get jobs no matter how good their grades.
The study, based on responses from 100 leading employers, shows that the graduate job market stalled in 2012 when entry level vacancies decreased by 0.8% compared with 2011.
A similar study 12 months ago reported that employers were expecting to increase graduate recruitment by more than 6% in 2012. In fact many cut their targets due to economic uncertainty.
The report calls the outlook for 2013 “cautiously optimistic”, but warns that the number of vacancies on offer this year remains 11% lower than in 2007, before the recession.
Almost half of employers plan to hire additional graduates in 2013 while will a further third will maintain their intake at 2012 levels, says the study.
The biggest growth areas are the public sector, retail, engineering and industry.
The top employer of new graduates in 2013 is Teach First with 1,260 vacancies, followed by the consultancy firms Deloitte and PwC, planning to hire 1,200 new graduates each.
Starting salaries offered by the leading graduate employers are expected to remain unchanged for the fourth year running but the median remains £29,000.
The most generous starting salaries are at investment banks at about £45,000; followed by law firms at about £38,000; and oil and energy companies at about £32,500.
Work experience importance
Public sector recruits are the least well paid group on this list with starting salaries averaging £22,000.
The study emphasises the growing importance of work experience. Over half the recruiters polled warned that graduates with no previous work experience at all would be unlikely to get jobs on their graduate programmes.
More than a third of firms said they expected to fill at least a third of entry-level jobs with graduates who had already worked for them in internships, industrial placements or vacation jobs.
Some 80% of employers confirmed they were offering paid work experience for students and recent graduates and over half were providing industrial placements up to a year long.
Pam Tatlow of the Million+ university group welcomed employers’ plans to expand graduate recruitment but criticised firms which confined their recruitment to “a very small number of universities”.
“Britain will only become a fairer place when these companies adopt a more enlightened approach and accept that there are talented and entrepreneurial people of all ages graduating from all of the UK’s universities.”