University applications drop 7.4% for 2012

The total number of applications for university entry in 2012 has dropped by 7.4 percent, but the number of applicants from outside the EU has risen 13.7 percent.

The latest figures from UCAS state 43,473 fewer people applied for a place in 2012 compared to 2011.

The biggest drops were among mature students – 13.5 percent fewer 23-year-olds applied before the January 15th deadline and there were drops of nearly ten percent or more in every age range measured above 19-years-old. However, among 18-year-olds – the most common age group to apply for university each year – the drop was just 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile the number of EU students has dropped by 11.2 percent, but non-EU student numbers have risen by 13.7 percent.

UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook suggests despite the rise in tuition fees for the 2012 intake, there has been a drop in demand among students from more advantaged backgrounds. She said: “Our analysis shows that decreases in demand are slightly larger in more advantaged groups than in the disadvantaged groups. Widely expressed concerns about recent changes in HE funding arrangements having a disproportionate effect on more disadvantaged groups are not borne out by these data.”

Ms Cook draws attention to the gender drop differencies as being more concerning as there were 8.5 percent fewer applications from males compared to a 6.7 percent drop from females. She added: “I remain concerned about the wide and increasing gap between the application rate of men compared to women.”

Nicola Dandridge, Universities UK’s Chief Executive, claims the dip is far less than expected. She said: “While the overall number of applicants has decreased compared with the same point last year, the dip is far less dramatic than many were initially predicting. And if we look at the number of 18-year-old applicants from the UK, this has dropped by only 3.6 per cent at a time when the overall 18-year-old population is in decline.”

First graduate starting salary rise in three years

Graduates starting their careers this summer will benefit from a six percent rise in salaries.

After three years of frozen starting salaries, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has predicted £26,000 will be the average salary among its 214 members.

The AGR’s bi-annual survey of its members also had bad news with a predicted drop of 1.2 percent in the number of vacancies available.

Chief Executive of the AGR, Carl Gilleard said: “The predicted increase to graduate salaries is significant and sizeable, particularly given the context of starting salaries remaining stagnant for the past three years. This will no doubt be welcome news to the Government and the higher education sector, but moreover to graduates themselves.”

He added: “The findings show that the market is predicted to remain relatively stable, which is a relief and should be seen as good news against an uncertain national, European and global economy. With the job market intrinsically linked to business confidence, I am cautiously optimistic for graduate recruitment in 2012 and it is encouraging to see that only a slight drop is predicted.”

The AGR asked its members about whether they supported truncated, two-year degree programmes introduced at some universities this academic year. Half had not heard of two year degree programmes, while those that had were concerned students will be prevented from developing skills due to heavy workloads.

Gilleard said: “Employers predict two year degrees will prove popular with students. However, employers do value graduates that have work experience, and those students that have undertaken a year in industry as part of a four year degree. Consequently, there are genuine concerns surrounding students undertaking two year degrees as they do not have as much time to gain workplace experience.”

A science graduate’s quest to find a job in marketing

Joscelyne takes over our blog to share her story of trying to find a job in marketing with a science degree.   

“A huge obstacle for every graduate out there, regardless of their degree or career goal, is the competition they face from the numerous other graduates in the job market. For those who, like me, took the route of a degree in a traditional academic subject and are now looking for work in an unrelated field, this challenge can be increased tenfold.

All employers ask me ‘Why marketing?’, and I suppose considering my degree in Human
Sciences it may seem somewhat random. It is incredibly frustrating to be overlooked based on my academic background; recruitment agencies I have dealt with have mostly expected me to, at the very least, be dead set on healthcare PR or similar. But do all language graduates want to become translators? Do all geography graduates want to become weather presenters?  This is how ridiculous it seems to me when it is assumed that I want to work in science because for a long while now, I have been focused on pursuing a career in marketing.

My first marketing job was with a chiropractors when I was 17, and was a role I had applied to in a desperate attempt to move on from a dismal sales assistant position. I thrived on the challenge of generating ideas to solve the problem of a limited client base, and on the buzz of seeing my strategies glean measurable results; it was then that my passion really took off and I was inspired to chase further marketing positions. A placement in a creative communications agency this past summer persuaded me that I was most interested in working on the agency side of marketing. A fiercely competitive world, the golden ticket into agency account handling is most certainly won through experience.

Following the placement I secured a role as a Junior Project Manager with a firm specialising in outsourced graduate recruitment, which, although not exactly my chosen field, has been a great learning experience. My role is to coordinate the marketing aspect of our graduate recruitment, as well as to assist in the management of the overall campaign. This has really allowed me to properly refine all those transferable skills such as organisation, client services and time management, that I know are invaluable in an account handling role. Through my resultant detachment from the marketing communications industry, my hunger for a role in marcomms has been amplified, leading me to start my own blog about campaigns, which also documents my graduate job hunt. Through it I hope to inspire graduates like myself who are trying to break into marketing from a non-industry degree, as well as prove my enthusiasm and capability to be successful in the industry.

I’ve got interviews coming up for two agency placements for the new year, and I’m hoping
that the employers will be able to see the value of my degree as having shaped me into a
well-rounded, intelligent and competent individual, as well as fully consider the numerous
opportunities I have had to develop my practical skills in marketing. I’m certainly not expecting to simply waltz into a great role, but I’m ready and willing to undertake the journey required to get there.”

Technology and HR combined

The number of graduates applying for each graduate job reached the largest ever in 2011. The biannual survey carried out by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) revealed on average each graduate vacancy receives 83 applications – compared to just 31 in 2008.  The most recent report by High Fliers Research found that a fifth of employers said application levels had soared by at least 25%. As unemployment continues to increase, with the number of 16-24 years olds out of work now over a million, it’s becoming even more important to be able to manage the huge increase in applications.

This is when an applicant tracking system (ATS) comes into its element.

ATS explained

An ATS, also called a candidate management system, is a software application designed to help companies recruit employees more efficiently.  It allows you to automate and track your recruitment process in a variety of ways, including central storage of CVs, pre-screening candidates with filter questions, arranging interviews and referencing, and emailing groups of candidates using bespoke templates.

An ATS can improve not only the graduate recruiters experience but also the candidate’s as the software allows you to keep candidates informed every step of the way.

ATS – the benefits

One of the key benefits seen by recruiters is the option to store all of the applications in a private, online database, which can be synchronised with your existing HR software. This allows you to record each candidate’s journey from attraction to hire. During this process the automated screening options allows you to reduce the number of candidates that are not suitable for the role.

This means you can focus your time on candidates that do meet your set requirements.

Setting up interview times can always be time consuming but with an ATS it allows you to schedule slots with candidates, based on your calendar. Good ATS providers should also send reminders to those candidates that do not request an interview time, either chasing them or eliminating them from the process. Finally after you decide to hire them an ATS should have the option to request references offered by the candidate. These are once again automated.

Why use an ATS?

  • Pre-screen applications
  • Track candidates from attraction to hire.
  • A cost and time effective way to recruit.
  • A private, online database to store all applications.
  • Functionality to manage and report on your applications.
  • Ability to view, categorise, send correspondence to either a group of applicants or an  individual.
  • Increase efficiency by creating and booking interview slots online.

ATS – who should use it?

An ATS can be used by any graduate recruiter but if any of these points are relevant to you, you should definitely consider using one:

  • Receiving over 100 applications for each role.
  • Lack resources to reply to each candidate that applies.
  • Lack consistency with employer branding.
  • Hard-to-track candidates journey when there is more than one recruiter working on the role.
  • Poor response rate on references.

You can find out more about the Milkround Applicant Tracking System here. 

Social Media in Graduate Recruitment Awards and Conference only days away!

Milkround is delighted to be involved as media sponsor for the inaugural SoMe Conference and Awards this Thursday (12th January).

The key aim of the conference and awards ceremony is to demonstrate how graduate recruiters can successfully use this vital new media in order to enhance their campaigns.

The conference will highlight the main differences between various social media platforms and tools, and will offer the opportunity to gain feedback first hand  from key industry players.

During the conference we will be presenting the key findings of the Social Media in Graduate Recruitment Survey which was completed by 1,350 students and graduates.

The awards ceremony will celebrate the best SoMe graduate recruitment campaigns.  It will reflect both student perceptions of excellence in the use of social media for recruitment campaigns and the votes of a judging panel of experts in the field.


Student-judged categories

More than 1,350 students completed an online survey during November, where they were asked to name the organisations that they felt made the best use of social media within the sectors they’d most like to work in. They were also asked to identify which recruiters had the best social media recruitment campaigns.

The shortlist for the eight student-judged categories is as follows:

Professional services: Deloitte; Ernst & Young; KPMG; Teach First

Financial services: Barclays Capital; HSBC; RBS; J.P. Morgan

Public sector: Army; NHS; Teach First; Civil Service Fast Stream

Law: Allen & Overy; Clifford Chance; Linklaters; Slaughter & May

IT/engineering/construction: Accenture; Google; IBM; Microsoft

Charities: Amnesty International; Barnardo’s; Cancer Research; Oxfam

Hospitality & leisure: Camp America; Virgin Atlantic; TUI; Fitness First

FMCG: Unilever; Coca-Cola; L’Oréal; Boots.

Generalist awards

The organisations short-listed for the general awards are:

The best use of blogger relations: Microsoft , Grant Thornton

The best use of a SoMe platform: E&Y, Logica, Barclays, Centrica, Grant Thornton, BP

The best use of Twitter: Barclays, Eversheds, Grant Thornton

The best use of video in a graduate recruitment campaign: Inter TradeIreland, Nucleargrads, Barclays, Unilever, BP

Grand Prix – The best overall strategic use of SoMe tools in terms of reach, impact and innovation: Barclays, Centrica, GCHQ, Grant Thornton.

You can still buy tickets for the event here.

We hope to see you all there!