Graduate numbers have increased, while placements have decreased, making competition for places extremely high.
As a result, companies recruiting graduates for marketing roles this autumn have been inundated with applicants and are becoming “super picky”.
Reckitt Benckiser, for instance, has had 1,200 applications for its 20 places, of which eight are in sales and marketing.
Sarah Baumann, group talent strategy director for the Leo Burnett Group, says the market for jobs in the communications industry is “more fiercely competitive now than it has been for many years”.
She adds that this is due to the compelling jobs available and the huge imbalance in graduates versus places. The fact that jobs in the City and financial sector are not quite as attractive or available as they were three years ago is also having an impact.
“We think more graduates [with financial backgrounds] are considering marketing roles. This makes competition for places extreme,” she says.
This has enabled agencies and top FMCG companies to broaden their net by employing candidates with wide-ranging experience.
Dan Hawes, head of marketing at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, says the market is beginning to pick up in some sectors, but while it remains fragile, he expects to see more employers hire graduates on temporary contracts.