The number of graduate vacancies has dropped for the first time in four years, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) annual business survey.
Jobs available for grads have taken an 8 per cent dive across all industries in the UK, with IT and telecoms the only one to see positive, 5 per cent, growth.
Some employers have attributed this to a shift towards apprenticeships ahead of the Apprenticeship Levy being introduced next year.
But the number of new apprenticeships has not made up for the shortfall in grad jobs, with both combined representing an overall 3 per cent drop from 2015.
“The labour market for young people is shrinking for the first time since the financial crisis, but the composition of the market is also changing as employers invest more in school leaver programmes and apprenticeships,” says Stephen Isherwood, chief exec of the AGR.
“The uncertainty of Brexit is the single biggest challenge facing recruiters in the year ahead. Competition for skills and the looming Apprenticeship Levy are also significant concerns.”
Isherwood was, however, positive about the growing number of options for school leavers looking for “high quality jobs”.
The AGR surveyed 154 graduate employers, offering almost 20,000 jobs, year-on-year for the survey.