Firms have stepped up salaries for young people as competition for jobs increases, new research suggests.
According to the Institute of Student Employers, the average graduate salary increased by £833 to £30,500 in 2021, while school leavers saw a £1,039 increase (ISE).
According to its CEO, Stephen Isherwood, “employers are looking for ways to compete for talent in a tough market.”
The number of applicants per job also reached a record high, it found.
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Companies reported an average of 91 applications per graduate vacancy in its survey, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. It is also the highest number recorded since the ISE began collecting data in 1999.
Graduates from the 2021 class have been competing for jobs with those from the previous year’s class, who graduated in the year the pandemic began.
‘I’ve applied for 100 jobs’
Casimir Chaeyld- Thomas received a First Class degree in law last year but has struggled to find work in the legal field. She is currently employed by a staffing agency.
“I’ve applied for about a hundred jobs in the last two months, both within and outside of the [legal profession],” she says.
“It hasn’t lived up to my expectations of what graduate life would be like.”
Chaeyld anticipated a variety of opportunities, “even though law is a very difficult sector to get into,” given her qualifications.
“I am optimistic about the future,” she adds, “but it has been difficult for me and a couple of friends who have graduated as well.”
Despite this, 177 respondents, all of whom were large employers of students and young people, indicated that the labour market had yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Mr. Isherwood pointed out that following the 2008 financial crisis, graduate salaries remained stagnant for a few years.
Salary increases imply that business costs have risen as well, which he describes as “another sign that businesses need to invest more to hire graduates.”
“Market forces will determine how long this can be sustained. If the economic recovery continues at its current pace, the market for young people will become more competitive, and employers will need to invest more in order to attract the talent they require “He continued.
According to the study, the most popular roles were in retail and tourism, which received an average of 182 applications per vacancy.
Following the pandemic, competition for jobs in the health and pharmaceutical industries was fierce, with 155 people applying for each position. According to the survey, nearly 120 graduates applied for positions in financial and professional services.
In September, CEOs polled predicted that growth would continue into 2022 across all industries.
They also predicted that graduate jobs and internships would outnumber pre-pandemic levels in the coming year.