Employers could be missing out on talent as new research reveals that many have cut back their graduate recruitment programmes.

High Fliers Research has issued a report which also shows that two thirds of companies have received more applications than normal and have therefore fulfilled their graduate recruitment quotas.

There is some positive news, however, as the research found that the country’s top 100 firms advertised 40,000 vacancies and there was an increase in graduate vacancies of 51 per cent in the public sector.

Outlining the current situation, Martin Birchall of High Flier Research, said: “Many top employers have already received a record number of applications for their 2009 graduate vacancies and most have either filled their remaining places or have closed off the application process.”

Sectors which are planning to recruit the most graduates in 2009 are accountancy, which according to the research will account for 20.9 per cent of graduate jobs, the public sector (13.5 per cent of the total) and the armed forces with 12.8 per cent of the total.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently announced a government incentive to get the long term unemployed back into the workplace whereby employers would be offered £2,500 for each person they recruit and train.