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Brexit uncertainty prompts employers to cut graduate jobs

A recent survey of the UK's 100 most prestigious employers found many had downgraded their hiring plans after the Brexit referendum vote

The effect of uncertainty over Brexit has hit graduate jobs, as many of the UK’s most prestigious employers have significantly cut their recruitment of graduates leading to a fall in the number of new graduate jobs for the first time since the global financial crisis.

A survey by High Fliers Research of the UK’s leading 100 graduate recruiters – including BP, Goldman Sachs and Unilever – found many had downgraded hiring plans after the vote on Brexit, with private sector organisations recruiting 10% fewer graduates by the end of 2017.

“It’s clear from our latest research that the uncertainty caused by Brexit has already hit the graduate job market,” said Martin Birchall, the managing director of High Fliers Research, told the Guardian.

“Although employers in a number of key industries and business sectors are hoping to increase their graduate recruitment again in 2018, the outlook of many recruiters remains cautious for the year ahead.”.

Before the referendum, High Fliers found top employers were aiming to hire 22,000 graduates in the UK.  However, those plans were downgraded by the start of 2017 as the Brexit result sank in, and by the end of the year 19,000 were recruited.

The survey revealed that private sector employers cut their recruitment by an average of 10% in 2016-17 compared with the previous year, with eight out of 13 sectors hiring fewer graduates.

“Instead of expanding their graduate vacancies in 2017 as planned, the country’s best-known accounting and professional service firms, financial services companies and investment banks scaled back their recruitment targets by 17% following the Brexit vote,” Birchall added.

Only the public sector, including the NHS, continued to hire in substantially increased numbers, with the engineering sector also showing a small rise compared with its 2015-16 recruitment.

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