- Graduate job postings are muted this summer, having lost momentum in recent months.
- Internship opportunities are also subdued.
- Searches for graduate jobs are up from the previous two years, meaning more competition for those looking to secure a graduate role.
The graduate job market is soft this summer, while jobseekers face greater competition. Economic uncertainty may have prompted some employers to scale back their graduate hiring plans, but those still looking to fill places stand in an advantageous position. Those looking for a graduate job may need to be particularly proactive to secure one this year.
Graduate job postings are subdued this year
Graduate job postings — postings in which the word “graduate” appears in the job title — are showing a muted trend this summer. As of 1 August, the share of graduate postings was down 6% on the same day in 2022. Though higher than in the pandemic-afflicted years of 2020 and 2021, graduate jobs are pacing well below the pre-pandemic years of 2018 (15% below) and 2019 (20% below).
After a strong start to the year, graduate postings have lost momentum in recent months, in contrast to the pickup we usually tend to see over the summer (pandemic-hit 2020 was an outlier). An uncertain economic climate may have prompted employers to scale back their graduate hiring plans amid fears that further Bank of England interest rate rises could tip the economy into recession.
Internships also muted
Internships have been slower to recover as well. As of 1 August 2023, the internship share per million job postings was up 15% from 2021. But it remained well below pre-pandemic levels, down 35% from 2018 and 23% from 2019, while also down 1% from 2020.
Internships normally give young people another route into employment. For employers, they provide temporary assistance and a potential pipeline for future hires, but are less essential for day-to-day operations. The fact that internships have struggled to recover to pre-pandemic trends may partly reflect challenges around running internship programmes in a hybrid working environment.
Interest in graduate jobs is up slightly in previous two years
Searches for graduate jobs (where the word “graduate” appears in the search) have been rising over the summer, as is usual at this time of year. Graduate searches are pacing slightly above the previous two years and are broadly in line with the average prevailing since 2018, albeit well below levels in 2018 and 2019. The uptick may reflect the need for jobseekers to search more widely this year, with graduate job postings subdued.
The graduate job market has cooled in recent months, which is perhaps unsurprising given the challenges facing the wider economy. While the labour market remains tight and some businesses continue to face staff shortages, easing back on graduate hiring plans is an easier short-term measure when there is uncertainty over the future state of the economy. The cost is thinner talent pipelines, but with fears of a possible recession lingering, employers appear to be easing off the gas on graduate hiring. With searches for graduate jobs up from the previous two years, that means a more competitive market.
We define graduate job postings as those in which “graduate” appears in the title. We identify job postings as open to remote work if the job title or description includes terms like “remote work”, “home-based”, “work from home”, or similar terms, or if the location is explicitly listed as remote. These postings include both permanently and temporarily remote jobs, though employers often don’t specify. For the share of remote postings by sector, a sector must have had a minimum of 90 total postings in both February 2020 and July 2022 to be included. Interest in graduate jobs is defined as any search containing “graduate”. Searches for graduate jobs are those in which the word “graduate” appears in the search.
We define internship job postings as those in which “intern” or “internship” appear in the title.