The graduate jobs market is in a state of uncertainty. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the number of graduate vacancies has fallen by 8% in the past year.
Construction, retail and engineering saw the largest fall in open jobs with both Brexit and the apprenticeship levy regarded as partly responsible for this change. Employers are also beginning to replace some graduate positions with higher level apprenticeships. This move does not, however, resolve the issues for companies facing a shortage in key skills. The problem may lie in their approach to hiring.
A biased hiring process remains an obstacle to recruiting the best talent, with some industries more affected than others. The Social Mobility Commission’s report Socio-Economic Diversity in Life Sciences and Investment Banking found that recruitment in the banking sector is heavily biased towards candidates from wealthier backgrounds. Job applicants are filtered based on their secondary schools and the level of their parents’ income in some cases. Notably, one third of entrants to the sector came from fee paying schools compared to only 7% of the UK population as a whole. The report also found that bias extends towards ‘speech patterns, accent, behaviour and dress’.