Civil engineering students graduating this summer face a massive fight for jobs with employers reporting an average of 130 applications per vacancy.
The number of students applying for jobs with companies such as Aecom, Amey, Costain, URS Scott Wilson and Bam Nuttall has soared from an average of 48 per vacancy this time last year. The number of applicants for civils jobs is much higher than the average across the board, which now stands at 83.
The figures are revealed in the Association of Graduate Recruiter’s Graduate Recruitment Survey 2011 Summer Review, published this week. It surveyed 202 firms across all sectors, including 14 leading civil engineering contractors and consultants.
The survey found that civils contractors and consultants were expecting a 61% drop in vacancies this year, the second biggest drop across all sectors surveyed. Only transport and logistics firms were expecting a bigger fall.
Graduating students that do find work will get improved starting salaries, the survey suggests. Construction companies and consultants said they expected starting salaries to be up 1.1% to a median of £23,250 − although this remains the lowest median salary of all sectors.
Overall, the survey shows that graduate vacancies are predicted to increase by 2.6% this year. This follows an increase of 8.9% in 2010, and signals sustained recovery of the graduate recruitment market.
The average starting salary has also increased by 2% to £25,500, the first increase since 2008.
AGR chief executive Carl Gilleard said graduates needed to plan carefully their applications.
“Recruiters have developed a variety of methods for dealing with all the applications, such as online testing and assessment centres,” he said.
“My advice for graduates is to make sure you reflect on what you have learnt – both at university and in an extra-curricular capacity – and be able to articulate it in your applications and at interviews; think about what transferrable skills you might’ve gained and how you’d apply your knowledge and experience to different situations. If you are able to get into that mode of thinking, you will be immediately more attractive to employers.”
The AGR is the leading voice of graduate recruiters. The survey is based on the responses of 202 AGR members in the UK across 20 sectors which will provide an estimated 21,507 graduate vacancies in 2011. The research was carried out by education research specialists CFE between April and May 2011.