London: Ernst & Young, one of the UK's largest graduate recruiters, has reported a surge in demand for its trainee schemes, with applications more than doubling compared to the same time last year.
The professional services firm has seen a 140% increase in applications for its graduate programme and a staggering 215% increase for its undergraduate work experience programmes. Attendance at its university campus recruitment events is also up by 25% from 12 months ago.
Competition for places is fierce. The firm has already received over 3200 submissions for 800 graduate positions and 1700 applications for the 750 undergraduate places available.
Stephen Isherwood, head of graduate recruitment at Ernst & Young, says that students need to get their application forms completed early, in order to be in with a chance of securing a job.
"Having already received four applications for every place on our graduate trainee scheme, students need to get organised if they want to secure their dream job after finishing university and start applying for vacancies. We opened our applications three months earlier than we did two years ago and our places are already starting to fill up."
However Isherwood says that for skilled candidates who are willing to be flexible, there are still plenty of opportunities on offer. "Think about where in the country you are applying for, as well as which company. A lot of applicants are focused on London, however, there are fantastic opportunities to work for global organisations, like Ernst & Young, based up and down the country.
"Our regional offices in Reading and Southampton for example would provide the same career development opportunities as working in the capital, plus the chance to work across a greater variety of clients."
He added: "There's no need for students to despair but they do need be pro-active and flexible, whether it's obtaining work experience or looking for opportunities beyond London. Those that rest on their laurels will simply miss out."