The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has just published its Winter Survey 2013. This gives an overview of what is happening in graduate recruitment. The survey is based on responses from 192 employers covering a wide range of industries including public sector, engineering, consulting, energy, telecommunications, manufacturing and retail. While this is often seen as a market for undergraduate students only, each year many PhD graduates enter employment through these graduate training programmes.
In contrast to what you may pick up from the media sometimes, the survey is giving some good news with highlights including:
- Employers predict a 9% increase in the number of graduate vacancies they will be offering in 2012 – 13 compared to the previous year.
- Average starting salaries increased by 4% in 2011-12 to £26,000 and are predicted to rise again to £26,500 in 2012-13.
- The average number of vacancies per employer will rise from 98 to 109.
- The largest number of vacancies are being offered in accountancy, consultancy and IT which is good news if you are interested in any of those areas of work.
What may be particularly interesting to you is that although the majority of employers (77%) do not pay any wage premiums to graduates with specific qualifications or work experience, there has been a small increase (3%) in the number of employers who pay a premium to new recruits who have a PhD.
Many PhD graduates find it frustrating that they after all the time and effort they have put into obtaining a PhD they are not treated any differently by the majority of traditional graduate recruiters. While I can understand this, from a non-academic employers point of view they simply want to recruit a graduate who is equipped with the skills necessary to learn and be effective in the job, whether they have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
On a more positive note, as many employers now use systems of performance related pay increases and rely on their employees to manage their own career development, the skills and experience you bring from a PhD should allow you to perform particularly well in a job. Whether or not you progress more quickly than you would have done had you entered employment straight from your first degree is in your (very capable) hands!