GRADUATE LEGAL positions are offering among the most attractive salaries for university leavers, and some of the largest number of vacancies.
However, the number of graduate accountants’ roles far outstrips legal positions, according to a report prepared for graduate employers.
The median starting salary for legal graduate positions was $48,500, 3rd highest behind investment banking roles on $69,000, and mining company jobs.
Legal roles made up 5.9 per cent of available graduate positions in 2006, according to the Association of Australian Graduate Employers (AAGE) annual recruitment survey, the fifth highest of all professions and industries surveyed.
However, accountants roles made up 22 per cent of graduate vacancies, although accountants are also paid one of the lowest starting salaries.
General management positions had the second highest vacancies on 20.1 per cent, with information technology roles running a distant third on 8.9 per cent, followed by finance on 7.5 per cent and then law.
Overall, the number of graduate positions available increased by 13 per cent so far for 2006. This follows growth in 2005 of 16.6 per cent, 11.5 per cent in 2004 and 9.8 per cent in 2003.
Although, unsurprisingly, the two biggest states had the largest number of vacancies, NSW had the second highest number of vacancies after Victoria on 27.3 per cent of the total, and the ACT had the third highest on 12 per cent ahead of Queensland and WA.
Even though 80 per cent of graduates who started in 2003 are still with their original employer, the survey found that employers rated graduates low for ‘commitment to employer’.
High Fliers, the company that conducted the survey for AAGE, said whether graduates had undertaken a summer clerkship had little effect on graduate retention.
Whatever graduates may say, said Tim Wise, survey manager for Australia and New Zealand, graduates may be “wedded to their careers but not you as an employer” and over half of graduates aren’t intending to stay for more than two years.
But once they land a position and are in it for a couple of years, graduates often stayed longer than they had intended, with a median of 73 per cent of employers retaining 91 to 100 per cent of their graduates.
The survey found there was a mismatch between where money was being spent on marketing to graduates and what employers felt were the most effective strategies.
More than 21 per cent of marketing spend was on employers’ own recruitment literature, followed by advertisements in national newspapers and university careers fairs.
However, while companies did nominate their own recruitment websites (68 per cent), and then university careers fairs (50 per cent) as the two most successful methods for attracting graduates, third was campus presentations, even though these constituted only 2.3 per cent of total marketing expenditure.
Accounting: 22 per cent
General management: 20.1 per cent
Information technology: 8.9 per cent
Finance: 7.5 per cent
Legal: 5.9 per cent
Victoria: 27.3 per cent
NSW: 24.8 per cent
ACT: 12 per cent
Queensland: 11.3 per cent
WA: 8.2 per cent
SA: 5.1 per cent
Tasmania: 1.1 per cent
NT: 0.2 per cent
Source: AAGE Graduate Recruitment Survey 2006