Graduate vacancies soar with science jobs and salaries leading the way

28th May 2014


A recovering graduate jobs market has helped push the number of advertised job vacancies up by a fifth over the last year, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from

Graduate vacancies soar 37% year-on-year with 15,732 advertised UK graduate vacancies this month according to classified jobs search site Adzuna.

The total advertised vacancies rose 20% year-on-year, with 823,081 available advertised vacancies in April. Advertised salaries also showed the first monthly growth in seven months, up 1.2% to £32,185 in April.

Total advertised vacancies grew 19.8% year-on-year in April, supported by a flurry of opportunities for new graduates and growing science and manufacturing sectors, as well as a burst of activity in the self-employment and part-time sectors. There were 823,081 advertised vacancies in April 2014, compared to 687,167 in April 2013. It was the third consecutive month in which total vacancies have topped the 800,000 mark.

Table 1: 

April 2013

April 2014

Annual change from April 2013

UK Vacancies




Jobseekers per Vacancy




Advertised salaries showed their first signs of growth in seven months in April, climbing 1.2% on March to reach £32,185. Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, says: “The salary upturn comes not a moment too soon. Real wages have been falling consistently since the recession. But now they are beginning to claw their way back upwards, sped along by declining competition between jobseekers, which is encouraging employees to raise salary stakes to attract the best staff.”

Table 2:

March 2014

April 2014

Monthly Change

Av. Advertised UK Salary




Growing graduate market

There were 15,732 advertised graduate vacancies in April, up 37.2% from 11,466 twelve months ago, as employers increase their focus on hiring fresh young talent in response to a pick-up in economic optimism. Salaries for the newly qualified followed suit, with advertised graduate wages increasing 1.0% month-on-month to £24,105 in April, although as yet they remain 3.8% lower than in April 2013.

Competition for graduate vacancies has fallen significantly over the last year. There were 30 jobseekers per advertised graduate level vacancy in April 2014, down significantly from 50 in April 2013. Several large graduate employers including PwC, Deloitte and Teach First are all currently advertising over 1,000 entry-level roles.[1]

Hunter adds: “The grad market is growing as employer optimism blossoms. As competition for jobs continues to fall, employers are beginning to invest more and nurture talent from the bottom up – that can only be a good thing for graduates. Initiatives such as the new engineering A level due to be introduced in September 2016, will help to encourage more of our youth to study subjects in which talent is particularly short – and provide a stream of future workers.”

Science salaries soaring, but retail continues to slide

A booming science sector has helped to support the month-on-month salary growth. Advertised science salaries have risen 7.1% to £36,249 in the twelve months since April 2013.

The growing trend for re-shoring manufacturing back to the UK has also driven a pick-up in demand in the manufacturing sector. Advertised manufacturing vacancies have increased 7.6% year-on-year in April, and salaries have increased 6.7% year-on-year.

 On the other end of the scale, sectors continuing to hold back the salary recovery include the retail sector, in which advertised salaries fell 12.6% to £27,138 over the year to April, to an average of £27,138. However, the retail world has been particularly volatile recently, and retail salaries could be set to pick-up soon.

Salaries across the nation

Salaries increased in every region of the UK between March and April, with the exception of Scotland (-0.7%) and Wales (-0.1%).

The West Midlands (+2.2%) showed the strongest salary growth in the month to April, helped by a surge of business investment in Birmingham – the largest regional city outside of London. The North East (+2.1%) was the second best performing region in terms of salary growth in April.

Despite the monthly pick-up, average advertised salaries were still falling 4.5% short of April 2013 levels. And the most recent ONS statistics reveal that CPI inflation has risen slightly to 1.8% suggesting a rise in real wages may be slower to realise than many economists have estimated. Factoring in inflation, average salaries have fallen by £2,179 in real terms over the last twelve months.

Table 3:


Average Salary

Monthly change

West Midlands



North East England



South West England



South East England



Yorkshire and The Humber



Eastern England



UK Average



East Midlands






Northern Ireland



North West England









There was more than one vacancy available for every jobseeker in eighteen cities within the UK in April. Aside from Scottish business hub Aberdeen, each of the top ten cities to find a job in the UK were in the South, with Cambridge boasting the lowest competition for jobs – offering six vacancies per jobseeker.

But Northern towns also showed signs of recovery in April. Competition for jobs fell in each of the worst ten cities, leaving only four towns with more than ten jobseekers competing for every vacancy. Rochdale, the fourth worst city in the UK witnessed a particular revival, with the number of jobseekers per vacancy falling to 11.92 from 13.06 in March.


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