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Graduate recruitment lowest since records began

March 25, 2014 - Published in Undergraduates

A degree is not an instant pass to a job anymore, but researchers say prospects are still strong for graduates.

TIM DODD – AFR – March 19th 2014.

Job openings for graduates remain scarce with nearly one in five ­employers that usually employ ­graduates not taking any on last year.

According to new data from ­Graduate Careers Australia the ­proportion of employers not recruiting new graduates was the highest since it began collecting this data in 2005.

Over 60 per cent of the 484 employers in the survey said either economic or budgetary conditions were the key issues affecting their graduate hiring in 2013.

But poor quality of graduates is also a significant problem with ne­arly one fifth of employers saying “quality,­­ ­experience and skill of the graduate” was the key issue affecting their hiring.

Interestingly, given the sharp decline in information technology (IT) ­graduates in recent years, nearly 30 per cent of employers said graduates with IT qualifications were the most difficult to source.

The next most difficult graduate qualification for employers to find was business and economics, with 26 per cent of employers saying they had ­trouble sourcing qualified people in this area.

The proportion of employers who recruited international graduates fell to 19 per cent last year, down from 23 per cent in 2012 and 31 per cent in 2011.


“These new findings suggest the recruiters of graduates remain cautious in their hiring plans,” said executive director of Graduate Careers Australia, Noel Edge.

Notwithstanding that, he said the long-term outlook for university ­graduates remained bright.
“Our research has consistently shown that graduates experience strong growth in employment rates in the first few years after the completion of their studies,” Dr Edge said.

“Interpersonal and communication skills” remain employers’ most sought after attribute in graduate recruits. For several years employees have rated this as their number one selection criteria.

Second is “passion, knowledge of industry, drive, commitment and ­attitude”, third was “critical reasoning and analytical skills, problem solving, lateral thinking and technical skills”.

Calibre of academic results was ranked fourth in importance.“While technical expertise is important, graduates wielding strong communication skills will have greater employment prospects,” Dr Edge said.

“Leadership skills” were ranked ­lowest among possible selection ­criteria for graduate recruits, with employers regarding it as a skill which can be developed later.

Originally featured in the Australian Financial Review – Published 19th March

Find out more about how the Graduate Careers Pathway is helping Undergrads gain a competitive employment edge – Click Here 

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