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The Times: Gongs and graduates go to the top recruiters

Gongs and graduates go to the top recruiters

By Martin Birchall

IF YOU’RE about to graduate from a UK university you’ve chosen a good time to do it. The number of jobs for new graduates has risen for the third year running — vacancies are up 10 per cent year-on-year — and there were at least a thousand employers competing on campus to hire the best graduates during the 2005-06 recruitment season.

With many organisations now close to filling their vacancies for autumn 2006, recruiters were in buoyant mood for last week’s annual celebration of Britain’s most sought-after employers, The Times Graduate Recruitment Awards 2006. Now in their ninth year, the awards recognise the graduate employers of choice in each of the major employment sectors.

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The NHS and Procter & Gamble were the only employers to win awards in more than one category — for general management and human resources, and marketing and sales respectively. The accountancy sector was dominated by the Big Four professional services firms, headed by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The BBC was a runaway winner in the media sector and IBM a clear favourite for finalists interested in IT. Shell overtook last year’s engineering employer of choice Rolls-Royce and despite fierce competition from Aldi, Marks & Spencer held on to the award for the top retail employer. Clifford Chance retained its position as the legal employer of choice, as did HSBC for finance, Accenture for consulting and GlaxoSmithKline for research and development.

There were also awards for the best graduate recruitment marketing campaigns during 2005-06. Collectively, the UK’s leading employers spent an estimated £20 million this year alone promoting their graduate programmes and a significant proportion of this was spent producing recruitment brochures, websites and on advertising. Accenture scooped the awards for the best graduate recruitment brochure and best graduate recruitment advert. The award for best graduate recruitment website went to Lovells, a City law firm, for its engaging and contemporary design, slick navigation and virtual tour of the firm’s offices.

Martin Birchall is managing director of High Fliers Research, the company that researches and produces The Times Graduate Recruitment Awards.

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