Bleak outlook for graduates as firms slash recruitment: Number of finance jobs down 45% while pay premium from a degree is also being eroded

Graduate jobs have slumped in the financial  industry leaving former students battling for a dwindling number of lucrative  posts.

There are 45 per cent fewer jobs on offer in  banking and financial services than this time last year.

Accountancy and professional services firms  have 17 per cent fewer jobs for university leavers.

Fast-moving consumer goods companies – which  sell high-volume, low-cost products such as soft drinks and toiletries – and law  firms have shed ten per cent and five per cent respectively.

Overall, there are four per cent fewer  graduate jobs compared to 12 months ago as businesses struggle with a stagnant  economy, according to a survey by the Association of Graduate  Recruiters.

The shrinking opportunities will be bleak  news for the record number of undergraduates.

Applications to go to university peaked at  around 670,000 three years ago as school-leavers attempted to avoid the  introduction of higher fees. Many will be entering the job market next  year.

This was followed by a sharp drop but numbers  are climbing again as teenagers accept leaving university with heavy debts is a  price they must pay to meet employers’ rising demands for higher  qualifications.

The pressure on the graduate jobs market  comes at a time when the economic gains of years of study in further education  have been significantly eroded.

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