British graduates are among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic according to the latest research from @Adzuna & Bright Network. With a huge drop in graduate job vacancies and 100s of 1,000s of new graduates hitting the market this summer, competition for jobs has hit a 10 year high. 

The study uses the vacancy data from Adzuna’s comprehensive UK database and combines survey data from 600 recent graduates from a cross-section of universities to analyse the opportunities and aspirations of university leavers entering the job market this year.

Young Britons face increasing competition for jobs after being disproportionately hit by job losses during the pandemic. July data from Adzuna shows 93 applications per graduate job. Graduate positions have fallen by 58.9% year-on-year and are yet to see any indications of a ‘V-shaped’ correction. The Netherlands and India are the only other countries to experience losses at this scale. The impact has been notable but less severe in other parts of the world; Brazil has seen graduate hiring cut by 1/3rd, while France and Italy have lost 20% and 26% of graduate vacancies respectively.

Given the levels of competition, lack of graduate schemes and entry-level jobs, many university leavers this year are delaying entering the job market. 19% of the graduates surveyed are looking to pursue further education, according to Universities UK*, this number is typically 14%. 

The survey data also shows that travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic have dampened appetites for overseas opportunities. Only 3% of the 600 U.K university graduates surveyed were looking to take a gap year or pursue employment opportunities overseas.   

Despite the competition for roles this summer, as of August 2020, there are still 4,689 graduate jobs up for grabs across the country. Over 50% of these roles are in London & South East, with the teaching, healthcare, finance & engineering sectors dominating hiring activity this summer. 

Cambridge based, Artificial intelligence firm ARM currently tops the list of graduate employers with 33 open positions, while JP Morgan and Amazon both have 30 roles open for graduates. Graduates looking for public sector roles can also look to join the Civil Service, who currently has 15 open positions available. Barclays boast a range of graduate positions from Analysts to Developers.

For those who are successful in their job search, graduate salaries have increased by 4% year on year, rising from £21,646 to £22,521. The increase is likely to have been driven up by the low distribution of jobs and a shift towards better-paid industries like finance and engineering. 

Andrew Hunter, Co-founder of comments ‘Graduates entering the job market this year will need to be resilient. It’s a really tough time to graduate. Uncertainty around travel restrictions and the possibility of a second wave is doing little to help economic recovery. However, we’re pleased to hear that big firms such as JP Morgan and Amazon are still hiring graduates into their 2020-2021 cohort. The impact this will have on businesses and the wider economy will be great and we want to see this continue.

Ben Triggs, a Director at Bright Network, said: “It’s going to be challenging for graduates leaving university this year. It’s important that they take the opportunities available to build their network, skills and employability. Companies will still want the top talent, so graduates need to give themselves the best chance to get hired”

Year on year changes for graduate jobs: 


Graduate Vacancies (July 2019)

Graduate Vacancies (July 2020)

% change










































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