Statistics released from the Q2 2014 total jobs barometer have indicated a year on year increase of 13% in regards to graduate and trainee roles. Such numbers derive from an analysis of the behaviour of over 5 million British jobseekers and 5,000 recruiters.

Furthermore it is reported that the number of applicants per job has also decreased by 7% in comparison with the same period last year. A quick look at the geographical results, and it is Scotland as well as the East Midlands who are rising above the national average increase in graduate and trainee jobs, with an improvement of 32% and 29% respectively. Wales are not lagging far behind, boasting a 19% increase in opportunities within the sector compared to last year.

The barometer gives further weight to the latest UK Graduate Careers Survey 2014 report carried out by High Fliers Research. That particular investigation found that 25% of 2014 final year students from the country’s top universities expected to start a full-time graduate job immediately after university, which is the largest proportion since 2002.

Possibly a more secure future

British businesses have predicted a sharp rise in the number of graduates they hire this year. The meagre improvement of nearly 4.5% more graduate roles in 2013 is expected to be greatly surpassed, with employers looking to recruit 18% more university leavers in 2014. It is believed economics and maths students could reap the rewards, with the finance sector intending to boost its populous by 42%.

Inevitably it’s not necessarily all good news though, with many emphasising it will be tougher for those graduates who have suffered unemployment over the last few years. Competition from all fronts remains fierce and the market will still remain a hindrance to many. It is also worth keeping in mind that starting salaries are, on average, hardly affected. They rest at a median of £29,000 with the lowest starting salary being a little over £15,000.

The latest figures demonstrate the best career prospects for graduates since the beginning of the recession seven years ago. An area to focus on for us students would be the growing importance of placements and decent work experience. More than one in three jobs on offer will be taken up by those university leavers who have undertaken some role in the organisation, be it through work experience, holiday placements or indeed paid internships.

Which? magazine rated Southampton well as an institution that prepares its students for the working world. Recent figures showed that over 90% of our graduates were in further study or work, a very positive picture considering the market strains and the demographics that make it up.

Gaining work experience at a company/ in an area that fits well with your course has never been more vital. That said, for first years and soon to be second years like myself, any form of part time employment is becoming increasingly valuable to back up your undergraduate degree. It will further your chances of a promising internship or placement which will massively aid your career opportunities.

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