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Graduates face bleak job outlook

A new report on the graduate job market in the UK confirms the worst fears of final year university students — vacancies for those graduating in 2009 have been reduced significantly and most positions have already been filled.

The Graduate Market in 2009 examined graduate vacancies and starting salaries at Britain’s 100 leading employers.

It was conducted by High Fliers Research in December 2008 and also involved interviews with final year students, including 482 at Queen’s University in Belfast.

Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, said: “These swingeing cuts in graduate recruitment at Britain’s best-known and most sought-after employers are very bad news for anyone leaving university this summer.

“Not only have vacancies been reduced substantially for those finishing university in 2009 but it is now clear that many of last year’s entry-level jobs did not materialise either — leaving many graduates from the ‘Class of 2008’ out of work too.

“There is understandable panic on campus that this is shaping up to be one of the worst years of the last two decades to be graduating from university.”

The study shows that this year’s intake of new graduates is to be cut by 17%, due to the continuing economic downturn.

The report also reveals that many employers began scaling back their graduate recruitment up to 12 months ago — the number of new graduates hired in 2008 was almost 18% less than employers originally planned, leaving many of last year’s university-leavers without a graduate job.

Key findings from the Queen's students include that 40% expect to join the graduate job market at the end of their studies, 32% plan to study for a postgraduate course, 2% expect to take temporary work, 10% are preparing to take time off or go travelling and 16% are undecided about what to do after university.

On average, Queen's finalists expect to earn £20,600 when they start work and Belfast graduates are most-likely to work in Northern Ireland, London or the Republic after university.

Belfast Telegraph