There are early signs of confidence returning to the graduate jobs market with over 5500 students and graduates applying for graduate and intern vacancies at professional services firm PwC in just six weeks. The figures indicate a 118% increase on the same period last year.

PwC opened recruitment for over 1200 graduates, 400 interns and placements and around 70 A Level students in early October. In total, over 1600 roles have been created, representing the highest ever recruitment levels on record for the firm. Full time roles and internships increased by 100 positions each.

Richard Irwin, head of student recruitment, said: “These levels of interest are a promising start to our recruitment programme, and in part reflect early signs of confidence in the job market returning amongst students. Record attendance at our campus events contrasts with three years ago, when often at the start of the year, you could sense some ambivalence from students. Now there’s a much stronger determination amongst them, to get a job or experience sorted out as early as possible.”

The firm maintained the UK’s largest private sector graduate recruitment programme throughout the recession, opening up new

The majority of vacancies are in the firm’s assurance practice, followed by advisory, and tax.

This year’s 1,200 full time graduate vacancies include:

• Almost 700 roles in assurance
• Around 300 roles in advisory (which includes nearly 200 in consulting and 30 in actuarial) – the number of vacancies in advisory has doubled in the past two years.
• Over 150 tax vacancies

The firm is putting a stronger emphasis on identifying and attracting the best talent early on, reflected in the 50% increase in internship places on offer. Over 500 internship and placement vacancies are available for 2011, continuing the firm’s recruitment in record numbers at that level.

Richard Irwin, head of student recruitment, said: “The training we offer employees is a long term investment, so it makes sense to invest in talented people as early as possible, and internships, placements and our summer business academy are an increasing area of focus for us to identify talented students as early as possible.”
This year’s recruitment campaign will again provide expert advice to students and graduates facing a tough job market.

The firm offers employability skills coaching and tools online, and PwC’s recruitment team will visit around 30 university campuses around the country as well as at the firm’s major regional offices throughout the year.