The job market is looking very positive for UK graduates in 2015, with a large proportion of companies saying they plan to hire in the coming year. According to the most recent CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey of more than 300 businesses, around one-third of UK companies are planning to recruit more heavily in 2015. As well as this, the survey also reports that:
• 33% of organisations say they plan to hire one or more apprentices.
• Job growth is expected in all parts of the UK, with the highest levels projected for Scotland.
• 43% plan to increase pay in the coming year, in accordance with the Retail Price Index.
• Around half of businesses surveyed say they plan to increase the size of their workforce.
The CBI/Accenture survey also notes that employers have high expectations from job applicants, in terms of job skills; the most sought-after graduate recruits will be the ones with plenty of work experience. And around two-thirds of employers say they're concerned about the “skill gap” between what employers want from applicants, and the level of work skill that recruits actually have.
In fact, for graduates hoping to score a top job, the best course of action might be to seek work experience placement positions: up to 80% of the UK's top graduate recruiters have developed paid work experience programmes for students and graduates, and many of them say they plan to offer permanent positions to those who impress. There are more than 13,000 such positions available in 2015, according to a second study: The High Fliers graduate market study, which looked at the quantity and kinds of positions that are available to new graduates. This study found that half of the recruiters they talked to say that applicants without job skills will stand little chance of receiving work placement offers, let alone permanent positions.
Overall, says the High Fliers graduate study, this year's graduates will be entering the best job market seen for a full decade, but the top positions will go to those who already have work experience to go along with their degrees.