Graduate jobs in first quarter of 2011 have grown – but you need to know where to find them

small green plantSpring is here, bringing with it feelings of optimism, growth and rebirth – but does any of that apply to the graduate jobs market? Well, there are certainly continuing signs of life, and not necessarily in the places you might expect it.

An in-depth analysis of the first quarter of 2011 shows that we have actually seen an average 44 per cent rise in the number of graduate jobs year-on-year on the gradireland site compared to the same period in 2010.

This is due to a number of factors. It is not solely down to more jobs being created, certainly not on that scale, although there is incremental growth in many sectors, as we shall see below.

Much of this growth, however, is to do with recruiter behaviour. A recent ‘secret test’ by a leading employer placed one vacancy for their graduate scheme on two well-known jobs boards, and also on The two jobs boards garnered 200 applications, but only one applicant met the employers’ criteria for entry to their grad scheme; generated only 81 CVs, but 20 met the entry criteria.

This explains the current trend for employers to work directly with both careers services and gradireland to promote their vacancies ‘under the radar’ of mainstream press or online jobs boards. This niche targeting of graduates saves time and effort from a recruiter’s perspective, and partly explains the growth in jobs on (and university careers services websites).

We are also finding that students and graduates who are registered on gradireland and actively participating in their career search are becoming much more engaged. This can be seen in the open and response rates to the gradireland email service: the daily update immediate vacancy emails have gone from an open rate of 15.5 per cent in January to 18.32 per cent in March, and the targeted emails (which are sent to a niche sub-sector of the gradireland database) have an average open rate now of 23 per cent, up from 18 per cent. Both of these figures are very high by industry standards.

Lastly, a few notable observations in a couple of sectors where you may not expect to see growth. The average number of vacancies on targeting students with qualifications in construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying has doubled from 4 to 8 per day since the beginning of the year – a tiny number, but good to see that there are still companies targeting students with these skills. And the ‘green economy’ is a reality – opportunities on the site in this sector have grown from just 2 to 8 per day since the turn of the year.

So what do we take from this? The green shoots of recovery are there; and if you are looking for a graduate career, make sure you are registered on to avoid missing out on the ‘hidden jobs’.

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