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AGR Student Recruitment Showcase 2017 - Conference Review


Matt Stevens reports from the Association of Graduate Recruiters - Student Recruitment Showcase 2017

Key themes of the conference included the impact of Brexit and the Apprenticeship Levy.

We are going to focus on two presentations – one by Trendence concerning students’ feelings about Brexit and one about the economic outlook for the UK by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.


Group GTI – Trendence

Surveyed 2,362 students from 110 universities around the UK between 14-18 Jan 2017.

The aim was to find out student feelings about what 2017 will hold for them and also to elicit their opinions about recent macro and political events.

Below are a selection of the findings:

How easy will it be to get a job in 2017?

37% felt that 2016 would have been easier, whilst only 6% think it will be easier in 2017.

Will you and your peer group have fewer opportunities in 2017?

35% felt that there will be fewer opportunities in 2017, with just 18% predicting more opportunities this year.

What will happen to the UK over the next 5 years?

15% believe that the UK will be more uncertain over the next few years, whilst a large 58% predicted that the UK will fall on uncertain and unclear times between now and 2022.

How do you feel about 2017?

What are you worried about the most?


A common trend

It is important to note that that there were no significant differences in the responses across gender, social profile or university groups and predicted degree class. All in all, the responses represent the uncertainty felt by many across the UK at present.

Finally, international students were asked about Brexit – 29% claimed that they have changed their plans post graduation and now do not want to work in the UK

Worryingly, the impact of Brexit on international students appears to be quite severe, which if extrapolated across the entire foreign student population, could have serious consequences for the UK talent pool over the next decade.

The question needs to be asked therefore, what can be done about this? How can we change perceptions about the opportunities open to foreign workers post Brexit?


Institute of Fiscal Studies

Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies presented a similarly gloomy economic outlook for the UK over the next few years.

He reported that contrary to public perception, Brexit is not the major cause for the current economic malaise. Indeed, the outlook looked dire pre Brexit...The EU Referendum has simply compounded what was already a large problem for the UK economy.

Key points:

  • GDP was the same in 2016 as it was in 2008. This is the first time that GDP has not increased over an 8 year period in 150 years.
  • Productivity growth and wage growth has flatlined over the last 8 years. The reasons for this are not fully understood, as this is an unprecedented occurrence.

The below wage growth data supports this:

Age           Wage Growth

22-30:       7% worse off  
30-60:       No change
60+:          11% increase

Indeed, average income for over 60s has increased more than the working age population for the first time in history.

Furthermore, as depicted in the below shot from Paul's talk, the median real hourly earnings for 25-29 year olds illustrates this sluggishness. For reference, the top grey line is educated to degree level, middle (red) is below A-Level and bottom (brown) is below GCSE level.

In its Autumn statement, the Government revised the UK growth forecast for 2020-21 to £30bn less than forecast in March 2016. The high level of uncertainty in this data mirrors how the general population is feeling – unsure.

What we do know is that effect of all this will be higher prices for consumers with the net result of slower growth resulting in lower living standards.


In summary

Despite the above, the conference succeeded in bringing the graduate recruitment industry together and as always, offered great opportunities to share best practice.

A special mention goes to BPP, who provided comprehensive and insightful information about how to incorporate the Apprenticeship Levy into the design and delivery of apprenticeship programmes.


We get around! Read last week's post about the DOP Conference in Liverpool




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