Graduate labour market intelligence

There is no shortage of raw data from a variety of sources concerning the supply and demand of labour in the graduate market (graduate labour market information). Often it’s confusing, sometimes seemingly contradictory, and in some cases it can be generally unreliable. Labour market intelligence is what you get when you sift through all this data with a critical eye, interpret and make use of it in a meaningful and practical way.

Why do I need to know about it?

You need to know about it to help you get a more accurate picture of your employment prospects as a graduate, to support you to make realistic and informed career choices and sometimes to debunk some of the hype that pervades the popular media. Researching labour market information helps you to identify the trends in the ‘supply side’ such as where do graduates work, what sectors, how much do they typically earn, what skills do they possess, how do they make decisions and to what do they aspire? 

At the same time you can focus on the ‘demand side’ such as what subjects, skills and experience are employers looking for, how many opportunities are available, where are the skills shortages, how is the world of work changing? Getting a more realistic understanding of the graduate labour market helps you to make more informed career decisions.

General trends in the graduate labour market

  • The UK’s leading employers expect to recruit significantly more graduates in 2014and are offering 8.7%more entry-level vacancies than last year – the biggest annual rise in graduate recruitment for four years.
  • The biggest growth in vacancies is expected at public sector employers, accounting & professional services firms, City investment banks, retailersand engineering & industrial companieswhich together intend to recruit almost 1,200 extra graduates in 2014.
  • The largest recruiters of graduates in 2014 will be Teach First(1,550 vacancies), PwC(1,200 vacancies) and Deloitte(1,000 vacancies).
  • Recruiters have confirmed that a record 37% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations– either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work – and therefore are not open to other students from the ‘Class of 2014’.
  • Graduate starting salariesfor 2014 at the UK’s leading graduate employers are expected to remain unchanged for an unprecedented fifth year– at a median of £29,000. Graduate salaries increased by 7.4% in 2010 and 5.9% in 2009.
  • The country’s leading employers have been actively marketing their 2014 graduate vacancies at an average of 18UK universities, using a variety of campus careers fairs, local recruitment presentations, skills trainingevents, online advertisingand promotions through university careers services.
  • Graduate recruiters have done more promotions through social media, skills training, university careers services, campus brand managers, careers fairsand recruitment presentationsduring this year’s recruitment campaigns – and less advertisingin graduate directories, sector guides and local guides.
  • Over half the recruiterswho took part in the research repeated their warnings from previous years – that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successfulduring the selection process and have little or no chanceof receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.

Source - High Fliers 2014 report (PDF - 539KB)

Find out more

What do graduates from my programme go on to do?

Who else can provide me with reliable information?

There are very many websites which provide information on what’s happening in the graduate labour market. Below is a small selection of what’s out there:

What else can I do to build my LMI?

Take a regular peek at the news items on graduate careers sites such as

Follow the Twitter feeds of professional associations in your chosen work sector for developments in a particular profession or graduate career area and for general trends, those of careers organisations such as AGCAS or any of those listed above.