New research shows the toll that the pandemic has taken on the labour market, specifically analysing graduate jobs and internships for students.

Research by job site Indeed has shown that graduates are set to face a challenging labour market, despite the UK’s improving economy, as vacancies for university leavers have fallen by 24 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

An analysis of vacancies aimed at new graduates shows postings have fallen by almost a quarter (24 per cent) compared to this time in 2019, and 13 per cent down on 2020.

In addition to this, opportunities for students to gain experience within their desired fields has also seen a drop.

Postings for paid internships have fallen by over two-fifths (41 per cent) compared to 2019. Furthermore, these postings remain a third (35 per cent) below last year’s figures.

Although job postings are now just 4 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels in the labour market overall, employers appear to have scaled back graduate recruitment, either to save costs or because of a preference for more experienced staff who require less training and may be better able to work remotely.

As such, the proportion of graduate jobs mentioning remote work has fallen to just 9 per cent, declining from the peak of 17 per cent in February this year. This suggests flexibility may be being scaled back in favour of a return to office settings in the summer.

The findings also show that technology and sales jobs offer the highest salary to graduates. According to Indeed, sales consultants and software developers can earn just over £27,000 a year, while .net developers and structural engineers typically make over £26,000 a year.

Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at job site Indeed, comments:

Young people have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout, and this extends to the market for graduate jobs and internships, both of which remain scarcer than before the crisis.

With the vaccine roll-out firmly on track, and total job postings back to within 4 per cent of their pre-pandemic levels, there are plenty of reasons to hope that the accelerating economic recovery will prompt employers to ramp up graduate recruitment.

Many newly-hired graduates may find themselves working in a physical office and having regular in-person contact with their colleagues too.

Graduate jobs offering remote work have fallen to just 9 per cent of postings, suggesting that employers are eyeing a return to the office. For those on the first rungs of the career ladder, learning the ropes can be simpler when you’re working alongside more experienced colleagues. For many, it’s easier to absorb knowledge through the osmosis of watching others do the job than by hours of video calls.


*To obtain these results, Indeed analysed job postings with ‘graduate’, ‘intern’ and ‘internship’ in the title to compare the number of postings on May 10 with the number available on the same day in 2019 and 2020.

Indeed also compared the number of searches for graduate job postings, comparing searches made up to May 10 with the same day in 2019 and 2020.