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Recruitment prospects looking better for graduates

Graduates croppedThe Association of Graduate Recruiters has just released the summer edition of its bi-annual survey of its members, and reveals encouraging news for graduate salaries. The survey found that the average starting salary will increase to £26,500, which is a 6% increase – significantly better than the 4% increase, to £26,000, predicted in January.
This is fantastic news for graduates and recruiters, as the salary estimates offered by the AGR’s members in 2012 follow three consecutive years of salary stagnation for graduates.

Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive, said: “It is reassuring to see that employers are investing in graduate talent. The significant rise in starting salaries to £26,500 will be very good news indeed to students, who are bracing themselves to take on higher levels of debt as tuition fees rise to £9,000 from September this year.”
There are other positive finding for graduates in the survey. It also highlighted that there are fewer applications per graduate vacancy this year – 73; down from 83 applications per vacancy last year.

In addition, the AGR said that its survey findings suggested a stabilisation of the graduate job market, with vacancies predicted to fall by 0.6%, compared to the 1.2% prediction last year.

“While graduate recruitment and development programmes are part of employers’ long-term strategy, the graduate job market is inextricably linked to business confidence,” said Gilleard. “With the continuing uncertainty in the eurozone, it is encouraging to see that employers are still talent-planning for the future and that the number of graduate vacancies is remaining constant.”

The quality of applications had improved said survey participants, while the AGR suggested that graduates are taking their time to be more selective and thorough in their applications.

A 2:1 degree classification remains the most common selection criteria used by graduate recruiters, with 76% using it as minimum entry standard for the graduates they recruit. This is a slight increase from 73% last year.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters survey is based on responses from 215 of its UK members in the UK across over 20 sectors, which will provide an estimated 21,194 graduate vacancies in 2012.

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Recruitment strategies fail to plan against loss of key staff

HR jobsThe recruitment and retention strategies of UK businesses are failing to take into account the sudden loss of several pivotal employees, new research shows. Only one in ten organisations have contingency plans in place to ensure their business continues to run smoothly if a number of key employees leave or are absent unexpectedly.

The findings of the report, commissioned by Vodafone, revealed that although one in five employees are reported to be actively considering a job move in the next twelve months, only 29% of UK managers say employee defection to another firm is a significant concern. This compares to 59% who cite IT systems failure and 36% who list damage to facilities through fire or flood as key concerns.

Worryingly, when it comes to business continuity planning, UK businesses are much better prepared for technology and environmental risks than they are for the risk of losing talent.

This is the key finding Vodafone’s report, ‘What if …? Exploring attitudes towards risk’, based on interviews with UK senior managers. This is despite the growing need to attract and retain the best talent and the relatively high probability of talent leaving or becoming unavailable for work.

While respondents accept that talent risks such as employee defection or illness are more probable than environmental risks, for example, only 10% of those surveyed say they have robust plans in place to respond to talent loss. In comparison, 37% say they that they have such plans in place for the loss of key facilities through fire, flood or similar events.

“This research shows that businesses should place a greater emphasis on identifying and managing talent risk as part of a business continuity management strategy. This is not only best practice but it will contribute to business excellence – essential in such a tough economic climate.” added Kelly.

Smaller business are the least prepared, with only two-fifths of organisations with up to 10 employees having continuity plans in place today.

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Two in five retirees ‘happy to work past 65′ says survey

RetireesOlder people who continue in paid employment will play an increasing role in the recruitment market in the coming years, according to the latest research. Many British retirees would rather continue working past the age of 65 says a new survey conducted by Prudential. Two in five (40%) employees planning to retire this year would be happy to work past 65 if they had the chance, said the Class of 2012 survey.

The survey looked at the finances and expectations of those planning to retire in 2012, and reveals that 48% of men and 32% of women would be happy to continue working past the standard retirement age.

Two-thirds (68%) of respondents cited the main reason to stay in the workforce past 65 as the desire to remain physically healthy and mentally active. More than half (54%) claimed that they enjoy working.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “There is a new retirement reality taking shape across the UK, with thousands of people actively choosing to work past the traditional retirement age. The fact that so many of this year’s retirees would keep working on a part-time basis is a strong indication that, for many, working is as much about staying young at heart as it is about funding retirement.”

Despite this, only 13% would choose to continue to work full-time with their current employer. Nearly half (49%) of respondents who wanted to work past 65 would prefer to work part-time, either with their current employer or in a new role, in order to strike a better work-life balance.

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