Research by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) has found that the vast majority of the UK’s top graduate employers have either maintained or increased recruitment in 2021.

New research indicates a recovery when it comes to recruiting graduates, with over a third of employers (36 per cent) hiring more graduates this year than 2020.

To undertake this analysis, the Institute of Student Employers surveyed 135 student recruiters who have responsibility over hiring thousands of graduates a year.

Whilst the majority of these employers are maintaining the same amount of graduates employed as last year (48 per cent), almost a fifth (18 per cent) are increasing their intake by at least 10 per cent.

This marks a significant recovery in the labour market for young people who made up almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of people struck off from payroll numbers over the past year.

However, not all sectors were shown to have recovered equally with retail and fast-moving consumer goods sectors being the worst hit.

Almost two-fifths of employers within these sectors (38 per cent) stated that they would be cutting graduate recruitment.

Conversely, a group that was shown to be in demand for student employers were school leavers. Compared to last year, over three in 10 (31 per cent) are increasing recruitment for this group while almost three-fifths (57 per cent) are hiring the same number.

However, the way in which recruitment occurs is expected to operate using a blended approach of virtual and face-to-face methods, indicating a change as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive at the ISE said:

Employers are optimistic that we’re reaching the end of the pandemic, but not that the economic crisis is over.

However, early indicators show that the market is on the upturn and there will be more employment opportunities for young people this year. Whilst the jobs market remains tough, students need to keep working on their skills and engaging with employers.

Student recruitment and development will operate differently. Two years ago the majority of how we recruited and developed young people was largely in person and nobody is talking about going back to this.

The crisis has forced more employers to adopt technology and we’re already seeing a more permanent shift to online and blended techniques as they realise the benefits. People are looking for new and different models rather than reverting to what they know.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.