The entry-level jobs market is stagnant with only public sector and charity employers planning to substantially increase vacancies this year.

Institute of Student Employer’s (ISE) Pulse Survey 2020 found that employers have substantially slowed down their graduate recruitment this year, which has the worst growth rate since 2016.

Employers are planning to increase their graduate vacancies by just 3% this year. This is in stark contrast to this time last year when employers were predicting 18% growth in graduate numbers or with ISE’s end of year survey when employers reported a 10% increase.

The 14% increase in graduate vacancies in the charity and public sector are preventing the graduate labour market from shrinking. This is in line with recent government announcements to increase police and spend in the NHS.

Similarly, employers reported they are increasing vacancies onto apprenticeships and school leaver programmes by just 2%. Last year employers reported an increase of 7%. This suggests that the growth of non-graduate numbers that has been stimulated by the apprenticeship levy is peaking.

The legal sector is showing a substantial decline (14%) in the number of non-graduate entry-level hires. While there are substantial increases in construction (11%) as well as the digital and IT sector (25%).

Stephen Isherwood 2017 100x100Stephen Isherwood, ISE Chief Executive said:

“The graduate jobs market is an early indicator of the health of the economy as employers tend to plan further ahead when deciding their graduate recruitment needs. What we’re seeing now is particularly concerning as employers are normally over optimistic at this time of the year. As we move through the recruitment season they typically recruit less than they had anticipated.

“Outside the public sector the market is not looking particularly healthy. Government needs to get the economy moving otherwise this year we’ll be in for a stagnant graduate labour market at best. If the government want to see further growth in the apprentice market, they need to address employer concerns about how the apprentice levy works.”

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