The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has released results from their latest report, which questioned over 200 employers over five weeks in June and July this year, showing that graduate vacancies have declined for the first time in four years by 8%. The number of vacancies this year were announced as 19,732 compared to 21,427 last year, when growth was 13% up on the previous year.
A number of reasons have been given as to this decline, one of them being the outcome from the referendum to leave the European Union and the uncertainty this has led to. Another reason however is a more positive one, with apprenticeship opportunities taking the place of graduate vacancies. Many businesses are re-badging their graduate vacancies as higher level apprenticeships in light of the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, due to come in next year in April. This will see employers with a wage bill of over £3million per annum contribute 0.5% of their total wage bill into a digital account, which they can then spend on the funding of apprenticeships in their business. With this financial investment available for apprenticeships, businesses are choosing to offer apprenticeships over graduate vacancies.
While the report shows that the increase in apprenticeship vacancies has risen, there is still an overall decline in vacancies available of 3% year-on-year.
The apprenticeship levy is only due to be applicable to the 2% of businesses in the UK who have a wage bill over £3million, however the funding structure for the remaining employers is also due to change in 2017. If you’re considering hiring a childcare apprentice, business administration apprentice or health and social care apprentice, you can contact the Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.