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More graduates are being hired than ever before, but the share of female graduates joining graduate programmes is stuck at just over 41% despite the majority of graduates being women, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ Annual Survey.
The AGR says there has been a 13.2% rise in graduate vacancies for 2014-15, but diversity is still a challenge. Its study shows the percentage of female graduates joining AGR employer programmes only averages 41.6%, even though 58.7% of graduates are women. It says the overall share of females has not improved in the last five years despite 62.8% of firms currently having a strategy to improve their gender balance.
Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the AGR, said: “Gender diversity is an issue which requires more of our attention. Although our data cannot explain why women aren’t securing more graduate placements, it indicates there is more to be done to attract female graduates who in turn need to make the most of the opportunities available.”
The survey shows average graduate salaries are up 3.7% from last year, rising from £27,000 to £28,000. The median salary after three years on the job has also risen by 4.5% to £35,000, although rates of salary progression vary between different sectors. Salaries for internships have risen by 3.3% to £317 per week.
Isherwood added: “Employers are doing more to invest in graduates with a continued increase in vacancies and rise in salaries. This investment is paying off. Despite the perception that all graduates are job-hoppers, graduates stay with our employer members for an average of five years. What’s more, only 6% leave in their first year on the job and just 11% leave before the end of two years.”
The sectors with the largest growth in graduate vacancies are accounting and professional services (23.0%), the public sector (14.6%) and engineering and industrial firms (12.1%).