Every year Career Interactive speaks to thousands of international students, Times Top 100 employers and immigration law specialists. As part of our ongoing efforts to make the UK job market more transparent and easy to navigate for international students, we endeavour to put out specialist industry reports to help you more easily understand the market.
Our information is taken from leading news agencies
Data Source: The Graduate Job Market in 2017 taken from High Flier's Research, download their full report here
The UK graduate job market for international students continues to become increasingly more competitive and is set to continue in 2017. However there are an increasing number of positions which remain unfulfilled, concentrated in the Public Sector and Professional Services Industry. The average number of jobs available in Times Top 100 Companies remains static at circa. 15,000. As well as graduate salaries remaining fixed at £30,000 per year for new joiners, this remains unchanged for the third year in a row.
Visa restrictions placed upon Tier 4 students studying at Private College from November 2015 has meant that they are no longer able to make an in country Visa switch from colleges, and the in country UK method of entry for students is now limited to those studying at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI)
The UK’s Decision to leave the EU in June 2016, led to short term disruption in company’s hiring policies. Particularly Investment Banks, as they wait to see how the government’s new proposed policies will affect London and its Financial Sector. Though only 8 major companies reported that they had altered their hiring based upon Brexit.
In 2016 an increasing number of top employers, most notably PwC decided that they would no longer accept out of country application anymore, and therefore their graduate programmes would now only be open to those finishing a University course in the UK.
Increasingly large companies are struggling to fulfil roles outside of London, due the brain drain from major Universities to go to London, where on average salaries are 33% higher. However there are still significant opportunities in regional offices, especially in and around the Northern Powerhouse (Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Liverpool) as well as Birmingham.
- 1.6% more graduates hired in 2016 than 2015
- 15,009 jobs available at Times Top 100 Employers available for International Students on an eligible Tier 4 Visa in 2017
- 832 graduate positions left unfulfilled of a possible 20490 in 2016 (4%)
- 500 of these roles in Public Sector and Professional Services Roles
- In 2017 employers plan to increase intake by 4.3%
- Only 8 leading employers have reduced hiring based on Brexit
- Graduate starting salaries remain unchanged at £30,000 per annum. Unchanged for the 3rd year in a row
- Top paying Times Top 100 Graduate employer now Newton Europe (Consulting) at £45,000, took 200 graduates in 2016
- Large number of employers now offering 1st year paid placements, instead of short Spring/Insight Weeks
- Top 10 Universities targeted by employers are : Warwick, Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, Durham and Bath
- 9% more job applications in 2016 than 2015
The Migration Advisory Committee published its report on proposed changes to the Tier 2 Visa entry route in January of 2016. The proposed changes were harsh but left out the dependent Visa route, the proposed changes would have prospectively cut Tier 2 numbers by 20%. However somewhat surprisingly the Conservative government chose to not enact most of the changes outlined, partially due to a backlash from big business who are already unhappy about the volatility of the UK Visa and Immigration system.
Changes to the Tier Visa in 2016 can be seen below:
- Implement the first of 2 phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee.
- Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000, with some exemptions
- Increasing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000
- Reducing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year
- Closing the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category
These changes will come into effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after 24 November 2016. The date from which intra company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in due course.
2017 will see significant changes to the Immigration system, however this is thought to be mainly concentrated on EU migrants. One of the key concerns of the government is how to facilitate rights of UK citizens living in the EU and EU residents living in the UK.
The government has shown some limited leniency towards international students with the introduction of a Tier 4 Post Study Work pilot in 4 Universities for 2 years, this policy covering students at Bath, Bristol, Imperial and Oxford affords students the ability to stay in the UK for up to 6 months after their studies have completed.
However non-Russell Group Universities have become increasingly uneasy about the Home Office’s stance on the use of Master’s courses to facilitate international students staying in the UK, with the proposal of ranking Universities and quantifying key factors like student satisfaction, and also employment numbers post study.
In some respects we welcome these proposals as we feel international students deserve to know how many of their peers actually go on to find full time employment in the UK once completing their respective courses.
The situation for non-EU students may well improve as a result of Brexit, with EU applications down 7% so far this year, Universities are now being forced to be more competitive to get international students onto their courses.
Statistics above exclude the Armed Services and the Public Sector which account for roughly 5,000 jobs as Non-EU students are not able to apply for these roles. Overall there is 7.5% increase in total roles available from 2016.
Accounting and Professional Services still forms the lion’s share of roles available, accounting for almost 30% of total roles. There is been a small decrease of approximately 400 roles from 2016, however many companies reported they had difficulty fulfilling their roles, particularly in regional offices outside of London and the South East of England.
Banking and Finance and Investment Banking, still represent almost 25% of jobs available, but there has been a drop in roles available particulalrly with a decrease in Front Office Roles. However there is still a high demand for Middle and Back office roles. The Financial Services industry has reported they will some roles abroad , but they have stressed this will mainly be small teams, rather than a repositioning of their Head Offices.
Numbers vary, but it is predicted The City will lose between 20,000 and 40,000 roles, with Frankfurt likely to be the biggest winner.
Engineering and Industrial shows strong growth, with the predicted increase in Uk Manufacturing exports with the fall in the pound, particularly in specialist engineering, however bear in mind Civil Engineering are likely to be hit by the slow down in construction due to lack of investment and general uncertainty.
Retail as well shows strong growth, as the services and exports continues to grow with demand for UK Goods. Retail graduate jobs like Management trainees and Business Analytics are becoming increasingly popular, however be sure to check about their stance on sponsorship as lots of large retailers won’t consider non-EU applications.
Consulting and Media though popular among graduates, remain some of the most sought after roles with over 200 applications per role.
On average for every graduate place there is at least 50 applications, with many having well over 100 applications per position.
Summary Of Times Top 100 Graduate Roles By Sector
Salaries remain fairly flat, average wage growth in the UK was 2.2% for 2016. Investment Banking and Law remain significantly above the industry average of £30,000 per annum.
Summary Of Industry Average Salaries
Overall role numbers are similar to 2016, however there have been some marked increases for IT, Consulting, Oil and Energy and Retail.
An interesting consideration is the ratio of internships to graduate roles, in industries where the rate exceed 1:1 like Law, Investment Banking and Consumer Goods, we are increasingly seeing internship being used as a primary pool for sourcing graduates, which leave the number of graduate positions lower in these areas as they have already been taken by successful internship holders.
Therefore for these industries and Banking and Finance it shows just how important it is to gain an internship in these sectors prior to applying for graduate positions.
Also included in these figures is an increase in 1st year Summer internships as opposed to Spring or Insight Weeks, where increasingly 1st year graduates can gain a foothold in a company early on, and go through 2 internships with a company before getting a graduate position. This is particularly true in the investment banking and banking and finance sectors.
Internship Roles By Industry
Over the past 3 years the immigration climate for international non-EU students in particular has become incredibly harsh.
With the rightful crackdown on bogus colleges and then to some extent the victimisation of private colleges, preventing them from allowing their students will put their qualifications into working practise in the UK, it is now left with University students to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the UK.
There is still good growth in the UK Graduate market at Times Top 100 Companies, which are mainly focused in 3 key areas, Accounting and Professional Services, Banking and Finance and Investment Banking.
2017 sees increased opportunities in Retail and Engineering as well.
Brexit will provide the context for the immigration conversation in 2017, but to some extent that will help non-EU graduates to gain a foothold in the market as the international talent market place becomes more even with their EU counterparts.
There is significant opportunity and upside for students as long as they plan and prepare for their application early and target industry sectors with the right opportunities.
Graduates need to apply earlier, with 1st and 2nd year undergraduates needed to secure placements in industry quickly if they wish to go and work in graduate jobs in those areas.
Also there is increasing demand for graduates outside of London, with many top companies struggling to fulfil roles outside of the South East of England.