Leading employers were left with more than 1,000 vacancies last year as they were “gazumped” by students who accepted a job but then took a better offer.
Many organisations have been forced to review graduate programmes to adapt to a new generation of sharp-elbowed students ready to renege on a deal at the last minute. It marks a complete reversal of the post-financial crisis years when employers scaled back recruitment and students were likely to be glad of any graduate job offer.
In recent years, fierce competition among recruiters forced many to hire second-year students who had completed summer internships, and then wait a year for them to graduate before they could start work. When students began turning down such agreements months later, some recruiters found it was too late to find other able students to fill the posts because most had accepted positions elsewhere.
A survey by High Fliers Research, a specialist market research company, found there were 1,074 unfilled graduate posts last year. The biggest shortfalls were in the public sector, with 272 vacancies, accountancy with 261, the media with 172 and banking with 231. Martin Birchall, the managing director, said: “It’s clear that our brightest graduates are becoming increasingly choosy.”