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Hope for graduates amid the retail gloom


The last week has seen an alarmingly large number of retailers announce they are either seeking administration or have already brought in the administrators, but a survey published today suggests that the jobs market is still growing in certain areas.

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) summer edition of its bi-annual survey, graduate vacancies are predicted to increase by 2.6 per cent year-on-year during 2010-11.

This follows an increase of 8.9 per cent last year, and the AGR suggests that this signals a sustained recovery of the graduate recruitment market despite the fact competition for jobs has intensified with an average of 83 people applying for each role.

Data from the group also showed that the average starting salary has also increased for the first time since 2008, by two per cent, to stand at £25,500, prompting a positive response from AGR CEO Carl Gilleard.

“Not only have starting salaries increased, albeit slightly, the number of vacancies continues to increase which can only be seen as a good sign,” he explained.

“I am cautiously optimistic about today’s findings, which provides a welcome indication that the graduate recruitment market is beginning to overcome the impact of the recession.”

Graduate jobs in retail are proving popular with candidates too, with the Managing Director of Telepower and Chair of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation Antony Wroe suggesting that the industry has improved its offering when it comes to graduate jobs.

“Recent years have seen many firms really up their game to attract the best talent,” he told Retail Gazette.

“Aldi and global investment bank Goldman Sachs can be spoken about in the same sentence, and this is testament to the former’s graduate scheme which offers a truly outstanding remuneration programme.

“The Aldi grad schame is arguably one of the most popular, along with those offered by John Lewis, Lidl, Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, and now, Harrods.”

He also suggested that graduates can rise through the ranks quickly in retail, which gives it an advantage over other industries.

“The retail sector is big business with so many facets to it and with many companies also trading globally and online as well, there are so many different career avenues to explore, something which graduates are keen to experience,” he noted.

“Many graduate retail employees will obtain management status within less than four years. There are also often opportunities to become regional or divisional managers and to go overseas.”

Typical starting salaries for graduate retailers tend to be around £23,000, just under the average for all sectors, but the industry can arguably fast track candidates to senior positions quicker than other areas of employment.

Published on Tuesday 28 June by Editorial Assistant

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