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Sunshine Peeks Through the Clouds

At New Scientist's Big Wide World blog, Penny Sarchet reports on a recent survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters that may provide a ray of sunshine for worried science graduates in the UK. The survey of 202 graduate recruiters showed an increase in graduate vacancies and the first rise in graduate starting salaries since 2008.

That doesn't mean all is well in the world of academia, Sarchet says. The economy is still struggling, and "the signs of recovery are minimal," she says — large numbers of science graduates are still struggling to find jobs. The AGR survey shows that there was an average of 31 applications per job vacancy in 2008. Today, that figure has hit a record high of 83 applications per vacancy, Sarchet says. But employers are predicting a 3 percent increase in the number of vacancies this year, signaling that the market may be starting to recover, she adds. Science is expected to contribute about 1.2 percent of those vacancies. "Today's report shows both a continued increase in vacancies and the first increase in starter salaries for two years," Sarchet says. "Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, says he is 'cautiously optimistic about today's findings, which provides a welcome indication that the graduate recruitment market is beginning to overcome the impact of the recession.'"

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