Companies' appetite for new IT graduates will increase at a faster rate in 2005 than in any year since the dotcom boom, according to a survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).
The 224 employers surveyed by the AGR are planning to appoint an average of 32.8% more graduates to IT jobs in 2005 than they did in 2004. Demand for graduates to fill IT posts has increased at a faster rate than it has for any other occupation.
Graduate recruits to consulting roles are expected to increase by 26.9% this year and those to retail management jobs by 25.5%.
The increase in demand for graduates follows several years when the number of graduates being hired for technology jobs dropped sharply.
Philip Virgo, strategic adviser at the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, said, "The number of computing and IT graduates is down very sharply on previous years and comes after the collapse of graduate recruitment in previous years."
The number of new graduate jobs in IT fell by 16.1% in 2003 and recruitment activity bottomed out in 2004.
According to sector skills council E-Skills UK, 17% of organisations that employ dedicated IT staff will hire people to fill IT roles in 2005. Of those organisations, only 30% hired IT graduates or postgraduates during the last 12 months. Twenty per cent recruited graduates from disciplines other than IT and 50% hired experienced IT employees.
However, graduate jobs in IT failed to command the average increase in salary for graduates in all sectors. The average IT graduate's salary will rise by just 2.3% in 2005, compared with an average increase for all occupations of 4.8%.
Accountancy and purchasing jobs will see 2005's biggest pay increases, with graduates in the respective occupations benefiting from salary hikes of 10% and 11.1%.
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