A Glimpse into the UK’s Graduate Job Dilemma

The Floodgate of Applications: An Unexpected Response

How much do you know about the current dilemma facing UK Graduates? In this article we:


  • Explore the current state of the UK’s graduate job market, highlighting the extreme competitiveness as evidenced by the surge of applications for newly posted graduate roles.


  • Use real data from a recent recruitment drive at London-based AI startup, Perspectv, it paints a vivid picture of graduates’ desperation or determination in an increasingly saturated job market.


  • Further discusses the implications of this trend, the need for more quality graduate opportunities, and the role that job-matching platforms like Perspectv can play in advocating for a more balanced labour market.

Sitting at my desk one morning, my eyes widened as I stared at my computer screen, utterly astonished.

A week earlier, we at Perspectv, a promising, AI-driven talent matching start-up based in London, had posted five new graduate roles.

Yet there they were, in less than seven days, more than 700 applications flooding in for each role.

I blinked, leaned back, and let out a long, low whistle.

Our company is a fresh, exciting – shiny new gem in the world of digital technology.

We’re the hopeful whisper in the employment sector, an AI-lit beacon designed to better match talent with opportunities.

However, we’re not Google or Facebook (yet); we didn’t expect this tsunami of applications. The unprecedented response left me both humbled and alarmed.

Among the stack, one role stood out: “Graduate Data Scientist Wanted”.

This particular role attracted an astonishing 1,646 applicants.

Was this a testament to our growing appeal or an indication of something more concerning?

Graduate Jobs Table Perspectv Recruitment

Decoding the Graduate Job Market: A Test of Desperation or Determination?

I couldn’t shake off the feeling that the sheer volume hinted at a level of desperation among graduates.


Candidates were throwing their hats into multiple rings, not just ours, seemingly willing to try their luck anywhere and everywhere.


This image of hundreds of young, ambitious individuals frantically clicking the ‘apply’ button, resume at the ready, paints a vivid picture of the current UK labour market.


With the rise in higher education, we have an increasing pool of graduates entering the workforce each year.


However, the number of entry-level roles has not kept pace.


The imbalance is undeniable, and in an economy still reeling from the effects of a pandemic and Brexit, the challenge for new graduates to secure jobs is more significant than ever.


It appears we are teetering on the edge of a highly competitive, if not desperate, job market.


Graduates are sending out applications in every direction, casting their nets wide in the hope of catching an opportunity.


Yet, the sad truth is that their chances are slim given the high demand and low supply of roles.


These young professionals, armed with skills, degrees and dreams, are left struggling in a saturated market, a reality that our recruitment drive made painfully clear.


If there’s anything this experience has taught me, it’s that the current job market seems to be playing a cruel game with our most recent academic achievers.


Their drive and ambition are being met with limited opportunities, often leading to underemployment, frustration, and a sense of being lost.


As someone at the forefront of the job-matching industry, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of responsibility.


Our role must extend beyond merely bridging the gap between companies and candidates.


We need to be advocates for a more balanced labour market, initiating conversations about the importance of creating more quality graduate jobs, and not just in London or nationwide, everywhere.

In the end, the data paints a clear picture: we have a highly competitive, perhaps even desperate, graduate job market in the UK.

It’s a situation that calls for innovation, imagination, and initiative from all parties involved – employers, educators, policymakers, and the job-matching platforms like us, Perspectv.

After all, today’s graduates are tomorrow’s leaders, and we owe them more than a tough, discouraging start.

We owe them the promise of opportunities that match their aspirations and abilities.

Here are some interesting statistics about graduate employment in the UK:

  • According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), in 2020/2021 there were over 778,000 first degree graduates from UK higher education institutions. This was an increase of 8% compared to the previous year.
  • The graduate unemployment rate in 2021 was 4.6%, lower than the UK unemployment rate of 4.9%. However, graduate underemployment remains an issue with over 1 in 3 recent grads taking on non-graduate roles.
  • The most common industries for recent UK graduates to find employment are health and social work (15.2%), education (12.4%), and professional, scientific and technical activities (11.5%).
  • However, the highest paid industry for graduates is investment banking with average starting salaries of £47,000. The lowest paid industry is charities and think tanks at £21,000.
  • In 2021, the median starting salary for UK graduates was £25,000. However, there is a large range based on factors like university, subject, and region. Medicine and dentistry graduates earn the most at a median of £35,000.
  • The universities with the highest graduate starting salaries are Imperial College London (£33,000), Cambridge (£30,500), and Oxford (£30,000).
  • Data science, UI/UX, and development jobs tend to attract hundreds if not thousands of applicants.

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