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Graduate jobs most likely to be found in retail and finance, study finds

The retail and financial sectors continue to dominate graduate recruitment, according to new research.

New analysis of graduate destinations data by higher education rankings website the Complete University Guide shows that Boots pharmaceutical and retail group offered the most graduate-level jobs in 2012.

The top ten of leading recruiters also included the “big four” of professional service firms - PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG – as well as retail chains Tesco and Specsavers.

The findings show a major drop in graduate places at the National Health Service (NHS), which fell from 4th largest graduate recruiter in 2011 to 44th in 2012 – though the analysis covers only administrative roles and not the 10,500 doctors, dentists and nurses employed by the NHS over the year.

The website’s researchers analysed the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to see trends in the numbers of graduates entering “full-time paid professional/managerial level employment”.

They found significant drops in the number of graduate jobs at almost all of the top 100 employers – including Boots. The top ten recruiters filled only 1,850 graduate positions in 2012 – around half the number in the previous year.

Only a few firms increased recruitment, such as vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson.

The analysis shows that the manufacturing industry is beginning to recruit more widely following a downturn during the recession. Manufacturers Jaguar Landrover and Rolls-Royce entered the top ten for the first time.

Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author, said: “Our analysis gives the clearest picture yet of the organisations that recruit graduates, and the pattern of recruitment by region.

“The data are derived from returns by graduates, and their destinations have not been confirmed by the employers themselves. Nevertheless, we believe it is a valuable facility for young people looking for graduate level employment in extremely challenging times.”