Record high number of applications for grad jobs

15 Nov 2021

Finding a job looks like it may be about to get that bit harder! Graduates in the UK will likely be faced with increased competition for jobs this year as the number of vacancies undershoots pre-pandemic figures, according to findings from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE). The research showed the highest number of applications per role have been received this year, since the Institute started collating data back in 1999. The 2021 graduates are having to compete with unemployed graduates from last year who are still trying to find jobs as a result of the Covid crisis, as well as masters graduates joining the workforce. "Despite employers wanting more young people than last year, there just aren't enough roles and we're not yet back to 2019 levels," according to Stephen Isherwood, the ISE's chief executive. 

Applications by sector
How’s it looking by industry? On average, businesses within the retail, tourism and fast-moving consumer goods sectors received the most job applications, at 182 per role. Competition was also strong for jobs in the health and pharmaceuticals industry, with an average of 155 people applying per vacancy. This was followed by jobs in the finance industry with an average of 118 graduates applying for each role. The ISE CEO went on to say: "Competition for jobs has been fierce," Mr Isherwood added in regard to the current student jobs market. Student employers received an average of 91 applications per graduate role, with a 17% rise overall in the number of vacancies per position, despite a 9% increase in the graduate recruitment market in 2020.

Recruitment still not back to pre-coronavirus levels
The stats aren’t quite there yet. The ISE findings also showed that recruitment had not returned to levels seen before last year’s lockdown plummet. Isherwood added: "This highlights the genuine struggle for young people to find work during the pandemic. There are more people looking for the security of a graduate programme, and this year's cohort is competing with unemployed graduates from last year and those who did a masters degree." However, the CEO is optimistic about the upcoming year: "Assuming the economy continues to recover, things should get easier over the next year when we expect a return to pre-pandemic hiring." Good luck if you’re job seeking!