UK graduate recruitment at top employers is on the rise in 2014 with vacancies for this year’s school leavers reaching record levels since 2007, according to the Standard.

Employers are set to raise graduate intakes by 8.7%, the biggest rise for 4 years, says one study by High Fliers Research. This is a big improvement given cuts in graduate vacancies during time of recession, followed by small rises/falls in graduate recruitment since. At the University of Oxford, the university reports that, nearly 95% of all leavers are in work or further study six months after leaving.

A study of 100 leading employers in the country found that employers in 11 out of 13 major employments areas will take on more graduates in 2014, with the largest rises in the public sector, accounting and professional services firms, investment banks in the City, retailers and engineering and industrial companies, which aim to recruit 1,200 extra graduates combined this year.

The median starting salary remains unchanged for new graduates at £29,000. Though a quarter of top graduate programmes will pay new staff with more than £35,000 and 10 organisations offering at least £40,000.

The report highlights graduate employers are offering record levels of paid work experience and internships this year to university students and recent graduates. Over half the recruiters highlighted in the research that those who had no previous work experience are unlikely to be successful.

Martin Birchall, Managing director of High Fliers Research said, “This very significant increase in graduate vacancies at Britain’s top employers means the job prospects for graduates leaving university this year are the best they’ve been since the start of the recession seven years ago.

“And there are more opportunities than ever for university students to get paid work experience with the country’s most sought-after graduate employers – together they are offering over 11,000 paid internships and work placements this year for first and second year undergraduates.”

Charlie Parkes, a first year PPE student at New College, commented that, “for me that’s a good thing.” Another student at New College added that, “I am delighted, I feel much more confident about my future.”