The school leaver and graduate markets in 2018

The Institute of Student Employers (formally the Association of Graduate Recruiters) have unveiled their latest findings into the current state of the school leaver, student and graduate market at their annual Graduate Recruitment Showcase.

Key findings from their latest 2017 report show that despite overwhelming concerns over Brexit last year, investment into the market continues, with a predicted 11% increase in graduate vacancies in 2018, and a 32% increase in apprenticeship offerings.

Key findings:

  • There is expected to be an 11% increase in graduate vacancies in 2018
  • Apprenticeship vacancies are expected to increase by 32% in 2018
  • 65% of ISE employers hired apprentices in 2017
  • 75 applications per vacancy for graduate roles on average
  • 29 applications per vacancy for apprenticeships on average
  • 32% of employers failed to fill all of their vacancies last year
  • 15% of offers made to graduates are either declined or reneged
  • Time to hire has decreased, thanks to utilising technology within the recruitment process
  • Over 50% of employers use video interviewing as part of the selection process
  • Employers perceive graduates as lacking in both the self-awareness and managing up

Expected challenges in 2018

  • Improving diversity is the top challenge for employers in the upcoming year
  • This is followed by budget constraints and managing candidate experience/expectations


For more information, see the ISE blog.

If you missed us at the ISE’s Student Recruitment Showcase this week, don’t worry! Feel free to get in touch at to find out more about our own research into the school leaver and graduate markets. Or, call our sales team directly: 020 3003 4000 

To find out how to make the most of your school leaver, student or graduate campaign, get in touch with Milkround today:

Happy New Year: Our January job surge

The first working Monday of the year – or, “Massive Monday”, marks a record number of jobseekers applying for roles, according to Recruitment Grapevine.

It seems after a Christmas filled with eating, drinking and merriment, applicants are ready to kickstart the new year by considering their career options – school leavers, students and graduates included.

Many student Christmas’s are filled with revision and essay writing, but with submission dates passing, their focus turns to their future job opportunities. Those students looking at graduate schemes in particular are increasingly aware of upcoming deadlines across many industries.

Far from being simply a “Massive Monday”, January is a Massive Month for Milkround, as we see 52% more visits to our site than any other month and over 94% more candidate applications than any other month.


Make sure your roles are seen by the most eager students and graduates – contact us on 020 3003 4000, or email

The year in review: Milkround’s highlights of 2017

2017 was a standout year in a multitude of ways for the world and here at Milkround, we were kept pretty busy too…

We would like to thank all who have worked with us throughout 2017, and here’s to the year ahead!


Attending the RAD Awards was a great way to kick off the year. Congratulations to all the winners!


We considered the importance of a socially diverse workforce, an issue that would remain a heavy focus throughout 2017, both nationally and within Milkround’s own research.


For our first Parents Evening of 2017, we were joined by Aldi, IBM, ICAEW, Goldman Sachs, Laing O’Rourke, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, EY and ACCA. Parents and students gained valuable insight into apprenticeships thanks to the panellists and apprentices offering their thoughts.

We celebrated National Apprenticeship Week, which aims to bring together will bring together employers and apprentices from across England to celebrate the success of apprenticeships over the last decade and will seek to encourage even more people to choose apprenticeships as a fast-track to a great career.

We held our first After School Options Fair of 2017 at Emirates Stadium alongside our partner, UK University Search. Thousands of students and school leavers were able to communicate directly with top employers to learn about the range of opportunities that offer a viable alternative to university.


Our After School Options Fair was bursting with school leaver talent



We partnered with UpRising, a youth leadership development organisation, aiming to further open the career pathways for young people from underrepresented backgrounds. As part of their ‘Fastlaners’ two-week programme, Milkround spent a day with the candidates running activities focusing on the skills needed to succeed in an interview.

Over 75 of Milkround’s top candidates attended an Amazon Insight Day, an incredible opportunity for them to learn more about careers in operations. The event included interactive games, workshops and a Q&A session.


We hosted our annual Careers Adviser Conference in partnership with Central Careers Hub and TfL.  Careers advisers had the opportunity to pose questions to some of the UK’s leading school leaver employers, including IBM, Grant Thornton, ACCA, Laing O’Rourke, ICAEW and EY.


Milkround’s research revealed a case of the fear of missing out – with social media playing a significant role when it comes to career envy in young people.


Milkround launched new web features that maximise job searching for candidates, utilising unique technology that targets candidate profiles alongside their onsite behaviour. Online job recommendations, regular and personalised emails and instant job match notifications work together to ensure the right roles are placed before the right candidates.

Our annual Candidate Compass report was published, covering the graduate gender pay gap, salary expectations, reneging job offers and social mobility.

Milkround’s findings regarding female graduates low salary expectations contributed to the conversation surrounding the gender pay gap in national news.

Our annual Society Awards event took place, judged by representatives from AstraZeneca, IBM, and UpRising. Individuals from universities across the UK showcased their skill, determination and passion for their societies and positively wowed the judges.

The finalists of the Society Awards

We were joined by UpRising at Milkround’s offices to teach young people about the “elevator pitch” and other essential employability skills to aid them in their job search.


We celebrated A level results day and partnered with Student Hut, The Student Room, Careercake and Revision World for a Twitter takeover covering all things Results Day – from revision to the Clearing process, to university and career choices.


Our second After School Options Fair was attended by over 6,000 school students who were full of curiosity about the opportunities on offer.

Our first guest post by Benivo was published on our recruiter blog, considering how young people experience the relocation requirements of their first role. [To enquire about guest postings, please contact].


We attended university careers fairs across the country, engaging with students face to face and highlighting how Milkround actively aid them in their job search.

Milkround also had the pleasure of sponsoring Oxford Student Union Debate on campus, which saw students confidently pose questions and raise structured arguments to their fellow students, as well as MPs.

Our Accountancy Parents Evening provided in-depth insight into apprenticeship opportunities in the Accountancy sector for parents and their children. Representatives from EY, KPMG, ICAEW, Grant Thornton and RSM joined us for networking and multiple Q&A panels.

Our final UpRising event of the year took place, focusing on dressing for success and how to confidently articulate personal skills and traits concisely in an interview or networking context.


Our second research piece of the year, the School Leaver Candidate Compass report was published, revealing the latest trends and thoughts of school leavers in light of the GCSE changes and their perceptions of apprenticeships. We were thrilled to be joined by our partners The Prince’s Trust, who offered their own insight into social mobility within the school leaver demographic.

Our School Leaver Insight Breakfast saw Milkround enjoy tea, coffee and croissants with employers and career advisers from a range of sectors, while launching the findings of our latest report.

Milkround presenting findings at the Insight Breakfast

We also had a great time attending the In-House Recruitment Awards – Milkround sponsored Best Graduate Recruitment Strategy. Congratulations to the winner, Deloitte (Pink Squid)!


We attended the Apprentice and School Leaver Conference and chatted to attendees about creative and tailored campaign plans for the new year.

That’s it for our whistle-stop tour of 2017!

Feel free to get in touch with our sales team on 0333 0145 111 or email to enquire about your next recruitment campaign.

Please email for more information on any of our past and future events. partners with universities to support women in technology

Alongside the University of Oxford and Delft University of Technology, has established a scholarship programme designed to encourage and support women in their technology careers. A mere 30% of 7 million who make up the digital sector are women. As a result, women remain underrepresented across all levels.

The Women in Technology Scholarships form a two-year initiative that also involves awards and mentoring schemes, and a partnership with the European Commission.

Gillian Tans, Chief Executive Officer of said, “As a company powered by technology and digital innovation, believes strongly in ensuring equal access and opportunity for all within the technology sector. Recognizing that female participation in technology is lower than it should be, we are committed to bolstering female tech talent, eliminating obstacles and challenges they face, and fostering diversity.”

As of 2018, 15 scholarships will become available; ten for one-year Master of Science (MSc) courses (within the Statistics, Mathematical Institute, and Computer Science departments) at the University of Oxford aimed at female students across the EU, and five for two-year MSc courses offered at The University of Delft, Netherlands, available to students across a range of partner universities.

Find out more about the initiative 

Graduates recognise rising power of the regions

Graduates are increasingly recognising the benefits of living and working outside of the city of London.

With living costs continuing to rise against salaries in the capital, it’s no surprise that many graduates are grabbing regional opportunities with both hands.

Some of the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters have noted a recent shift in regional hiring, as an increasing number of graduates are seeking employment outside the capital.

Consulting giant Accenture has seen an increase in regional intakes from 6% in 2016 to 11% in 2017. Similarly, accountant giant EY claims the proportion of London placements has dropped from 61% in 2016 to 52% in 2017.

Boss of PwC, Kevin Ellis, welcomes the increased regional competition as a testament to young people really investigating the current working landscape. Mr Ellis says, “We’re seeing a growing interest in regional roles driven by greater awareness of the opportunities available, lifestyle considerations and the increased availability of technology, which is location agnostic.”

Likewise, Deloitte’s London roles “continue to be popular” alongside a rise in regional hires, according to head of student recruitment, Georgia Greer.

This trend certainly doesn’t mean graduates are falling out of love with the capital.

KPMG’s head of graduate recruitment, Linda Emery, says that ‘demand in London has remained at the same level as previous years, and our London placements are often the first to be filled’.

The increase in regional intakes is a welcome recognition of the abundance of opportunity supplied throughout the UK, as well as knowledge of the benefits of lower living costs and other factors.

Executive director of campaigns at business group London First, Naomi Smith, notes that, “Last year, 30, 000 more millennials left than came to London and housing costs are the driving factor”.


Original story from City A.M.’s front page, Friday 27th October 2017.

Barclays to tackle high cost of graduate job hunting

Barclays claim that UK graduates spend over £500 on average in order to land their first job. To help combat this, the bank will begin offering their graduate interviewees free accommodation in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

This will be welcomed by graduates who admit they have been deterred from applying for a job because of the sheer cost of getting to interview.

Many other employers in London already offer travel reimbursement. This should be considered a necessary requirement of the application process,  if the biggest firms want to continue to break down social mobility barriers when it comes to jobs in the City.

Social mobility in the student and graduate market

As businesses continue to strive for diversity in the workplace, Milkround took a look at how socio-economic factors alter the decision-making process undertaken by students and graduates when considering their careers.

Measuring socio-economic factors

In 2017, Milkround launched our annual Candidate Compass survey, delving into the career mindsets of over 5,300 students and graduates. In order to measure how socio-economic factors may impact career-based thinking, we asked our respondents whether they had received free school meals; 18% had.

Our resulting report revealed differences in career perceptions of students who were eligible for free school meals during their education and those who were not.

Why does socio-economic diversity matter?

As an employer, diversity must always be highly prioritised. A diverse workforce is one that is representative, inclusive and from a business perspective, ultimately more productive. Therefore, it’s essential your recruitment process appeals to a wide spectrum of candidates. Crafting a recruitment strategy that is inclusive of students and graduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds relies on the awareness that socio-economic status affects career decisions.


Free school meal respondents (FSM) placed weight on different influences when it came to deciding on their future career paths, in comparison to non-FSM students.

41% of our FSM respondents claimed their family significantly influenced their career decisions. The role family played was a close second to a candidate’s personal interests, at 43%.

In comparison, a larger percentage (63%) of non-FSM students listed their own interests as their biggest influence. 40% also listed their degree topic and 39% claimed reading job descriptions online impacted their career choices. The discrepancy between family and a candidate’s own interests was much greater for non-FSM students, at 28%.

top career choice influences.JPGFrom this, we can infer that FSM respondents rely more heavily on their family for information when it comes to jobs. They also place greater weight on their careers service (40%), showing they actively seek a broad range of opinions when making their own career plans.

Career confidence

It also seems socio-economic background has implications for career confidence. Only 19% of our FSM respondents are optimistic about their future career prospects, versus 56% of non-FSM respondents. 67% of FSM respondents also feel pessimistic about their future salary.

Be part of the solution

The best ways to reach candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who may have been the first in their family to attend university and consider the career options this route can offer, is to make real connections with them.

By hosting or attending events inclusive of individuals from traditionally low-income areas of the country, or specific schools and universities, you can educate and engage students who may not have considered certain career paths previously.

Read the full report

To find out more about advertising apprenticeships or graduate roles with Milkround, or to discuss a tailored, inclusive recruitment campaign, give us a call on 0333 0145 111, or email

Nearly three-quarters of graduates willing to back out after accepting a job

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of graduates are willing to back out of a job offer they’ve accepted, with three out of 10 (30%) stating they’ve already done so, according to our latest research.  5,319 current university students and recent graduates were surveyed for our annual graduate report The Candidate Compass.

Reneging on job offers

Among those graduates that have reneged on a job offer, around six out of 10 (64%) claimed that they did this because they didn’t know how to decline. Around two out of 10 (22%) said they did this because they received a better offer elsewhere, while just 9% changed their mind.

Your reneging insurance…

Don’t worry, Milkround are already taking steps to reduce the risk and impact of candidate’s reneging job offers.

We ensure graduates are fully informed about the roles they are applying for, and that they apply for are the ones that best suit their skill set. We also provide best practice advice to employers; all to help reduce the impact of unfilled vacancies on the companies who partner with us.

However, we understand reneging is a concern for employers, and that it is part of the recruiting process. To help further, we are offering you some reneging insurance this September. Simply buy and advertise a role with a fully branded premium listing in September, and if your candidate reneges, we will give you a standard two week job listing to use in January for free.*

Register your interest in this offer using the form below and a member of the team will be in touch shortly.

*Not applicable to current proposals. Offer valid until 30th September 2017.

Students don’t feel clued up on STEM careers

A third of students feel underinformed about STEM careers, according to new research carried out by Atomik Research on behalf of Centrica. Nearly half of the 1,063 students between the ages of 14 and 18 could not name a female role model in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.

Furthermore, nearly a third of male teachers (29%) believe that STEM careers are more suited to boys than girls, compared to 16% of female teachers. 23% of the teachers surveyed do not feel confident or do not know if job opportunities exist for girls going into STEM careers.

Alongside this,  research by L’Oréal found that on average, 55% of 16-18 year old students are not studying science. Of those, 40% said it was because they don’t think science would lead to a career they would want to do, and just under a third (29%) lack confidence in their science skills.

Combining these revelations highlights the continued existence of both a skills and gender gap within STEM subjects and careers. The next question is: what is the solution to and how can employers help?

L’Oréal has unveiled a new campaign that aims to encourage female role models to visit local schools and talk to primary-school aged children to help inspire the next generation of scientists. By informing young people about the vast array of opportunities that STEM careers could offer them, it is hoped more students, particularly females, can see their own potential in these industries.

Paul Gilliam, HR Director – UK & Ireland at L’Oréal, highlights how important education on science careers is, alongside supporting women already in STEM industries to ensure they are reaching their full potential and can be guiding lights for young girls.

“It is important that we proactively encourage women who are looking to enter into science professions and support those that are already there,” he says. “We believe fostering female scientists of the future starts much earlier in life, which is why, to mark the tenth anniversary of For Women in Science, we have linked with the Inspiring the Future programme, run by UK charity Education & Employers, to inspire the next generation of scientists by encouraging both boys and girls to take an interest in science at primary school age.

“Companies have a responsibility to give back to the community and we truly believe that by encouraging more scientists into schools and opening children’s eyes to the range of careers that science leads to, we can help make scientific jobs feel both exciting and attainable and ultimately achieve a better gender balance in science.”

Gender has been a hotly debated topic in recent months; but then it has always been. It must continue to be spoken about and acted upon to ensure equal gender representation and pay in all industries.

When it comes to STEM, employers within these industries can help to educate young people to open their eyes to the vast opportunities available to them. Engaging with young people throughout their school life may be a heavy time constraint, but this technique can be incorporated within your school leaver or graduate recruitment process.

School leavers, students and recent graduates care about social responsibility and equality. By showing them you too are invested in this in all levels of your company, from recruitment to the continued nurturing of employee talent, you will attract a diverse range of top youth talent.

For suggestions on how we could work alongside you to create bespoke campaigns that can advertise your job openings, or to raise awareness of opportunities in specific industries such as STEM through events or similar, please contact

Female graduates can’t see their future in the tech industry

A survey of over 1,000 university students conducted by KPMG and independent market research company High Fliers has uncovered discrepancies when it comes to the career confidence of male versus female graduates regarding careers in technology.

Despite being as equally competent as young men when assessed on digital skills including data manipulation and social media, a mere 37 percent of young women are confident they have the tech skills required by today’s employers, compared with 57 percent of young men.

Adding to the concern raised by these stats is the fact that 73% of females have not considered a graduate job in technology. It seems the existence of female technical talent does not align with career aspirations in this sector. This lack of self-confidence in female graduates has also been considered here at Milkround. Our research found that female graduates’ salary expectations are much lower than their male counterparts. KPMG’s survey suggests that there could be a correlation between undervaluing personal skills and low salary expectations.

Commenting on the findings Aidan Brennan, KPMG’s head of digital transformation said:

“The issue here isn’t around competency – far from it – but rather how businesses understand the underlying capability of an individual and how to unlock it. I think this research highlights the work that needs to be done to show the next generation that when it comes to a career in tech, gender isn’t part of the equation.

Competition for jobs is tough, and we know that female job seekers can be less likely to apply for a role than their male counterparts if they don’t feel they already possess every pre-requisite the job demands. Businesses committed to building a truly diverse workforce need to adapt their recruitment processes to reflect this, and ensure they don’t fall into the trap of listening only to those who shout about their capability loudest.”

Highlighting that many employers do not specify a degree course in their selection process is also important if young women are to be encouraged into the tech industry. By engaging with students from all degree backgrounds, employers can highlight that skills are transferable across industries traditionally considered widely different.

Graduate trainee, Mary Smith, who studied history and politics at university and recently joined KPMG’s tech consulting graduate programme agrees:

“If you look at the subject I studied at University, you might wonder how my background makes me a good fit for a tech career at a professional services firm. KPMG saw something in me that at the time I may not have seen in myself. Now I am in the role, it is clear that the skills that I already possessed are very much transferrable to the job I am doing. I would encourage more young women to not be deterred by jobs which include an element of tech, and to instead have the confidence and belief in your own capabilities to apply and succeed.”

Here at Milkround, we think raising awareness of these issues is not just vital, but absolutely essential. The best way of doing this in the most far-reaching way is by creating event initiatives that appeal directly to the youth market – such as KPMG’s ITs Her Future. Young women must be shown that a career in tech is not just a place where they could flourish in theory, but that they are actively welcomed onto this pathway and a successful career awaits them.