As is well known, the economy has seen a jobs ‘miracle’ over the last few years. For those students who have passed through – and are currently about to graduate from – the Higher Education system, the good news is that their job prospects continue to improve.
At the start of this year, the High Fliers report, which looks at those companies that feature in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, prophesied that the number of graduate jobs would grow again (by over 8%), for the third year in a row. But what about IT jobs specifically – if you are graduating with a Computing/IT degree, and haven’t got a grad role already nailed down, what are your prospects?
Well, to some extent, it depends on where in the country you are and where you are prepared to work. Salaries vary between locations and specific IT skillsets. According to the High Fliers report, those with strong Java knowledge can now expect c. £35,000 whereas two years ago a salary of £28,000 was more likely. In more general terms, they said web developers should be able to find advertised salaries nearer £40K. From Be-IT’s perspective in Scotland, we think while you might be able to find such advertised salaries they would be only for the most senior of senior web developers. Moreover, again from the Scottish viewpoint, we don’t see grad roles much above £30K.
Location is a – probably the - major determinant of where you might find a job and what you might be paid. Unsurprisingly, London dominates, with Charlie Ball, Head of HE intelligence at Prospects, the UK graduate job-board, writing in the Guardian that the capital is likely to continue to capture a larger share of the graduate jobs market, although he also says that the other major UK cities - Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast – will also thrive.
In Scotland, only 46% of the ‘High Fliers’ top 100 companies were intending to hire graduates in 2015. This is ahead of the NE of England, Yorkshire, East Anglia, Wales and Northern Ireland, but behind everywhere else and especially London, where 83% of these companies are expecting to recruit. In other words, you are more likely to get a ‘top graduate job’ in London (and the South-East of England generally). This dominance of London and the South East is further reflected in the ten universities most-often targeted by Britain’s top graduate employers in the last academic year (2014- 2015). These are: Manchester, Nottingham, Warwick, Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, Bristol, Imperial College London, University College London and Leeds.
To counterbalance this, from the Be-IT perspective at least, the good news is that the ‘High Fliers’ report also showed that the biggest demand in 2015 is likely to be for IT graduates, with 53% of all firms expecting to recruit in our sector (the next highest was finance, with 48% of firms needing graduates, then HR, with 37%). And those 46% of ‘top graduate’ firms intending to recruit in Scotland mean there are a lot of jobs available north of the border (and of course lots of other companies, not in this exalted group, will also be hiring graduates).
This is all good news. There is a substantial increase in the overall number of graduate vacancies for 2015. In fact, this growth takes graduate recruitment beyond the pre-recession peak in the graduate job market in 2007 and means this summer’s university-leavers have more opportunities than at any time in the last decade. And with IT jobs being a key area for graduate recruiters, and salaries for those graduate positions rising, then the immediate future for those coming out of our universities in the next few years looks bright.
Alma Kettles, Principal Recruitment Consultant, Be-IT Resourcing