Students are turning down jobs as employers compete to hire them, with nearly one in seven rejecting offers last year. This has resulted in the highest number of unfilled graduate positions at any time since 2008.

At that time, the credit crunch caused a jobs scramble, but the balance has now tipped in favour of the candidate. Vacancies are predicted to jump by 12 percent this year after a 4.3 percent rise in 2014.

“If you’ve got the skills then you’re going to be highly in demand,” said Stephen Isherwood of the Association of Graduate Recruiters. “Difficulties in attracting the right talent with the right mix of skills in the right location are on the increase.”

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There are still 75 applications for every graduate position, the association’s research has shown. In banking, this figure rises to 107 and 146 for hot jobs at top consumer goods companies. Telecoms and IT though – industries that already see one in eight jobs go unfilled – are expected to see vacancies rise 25 percent this year.

UK graduates are in a good position compared with peers in the US and Far East though, as relatively few Britons go to university. Those that can/will intern also have an advantage, since companies give a quarter of graduate roles to people who have already worked for them.