Graduates are hoping to battle the current tough recruitment conditions by applying for graduate jobs early and often, according to a recent survey.

A survey carried out by graduate jobs advisers, High Fliers, showed that there had already been a 33 per cent rise in applications for this year’s offering of graduate jobs, compared to the figures for last year.

The figures also showed, however, that confidence in the graduate recruitment process was returning among the applicants, following the gloom of the recession and its immediate aftermath.

From the 18,000 final year students surveyed, at 30 of the UK’s top universities, a total of 343,000 applications are expected to be sent out – up a third from the figures from 2010, and a staggering 75 per cent since 2004. Around 40 per cent said they were confident of starting a graduate job this year.

Universities minister, David Willetts, said the signs of increasing confidence in graduate recruitment were very encouraging.

“As this report demonstrates, graduates are rising to the challenge of a difficult market with a record number making early job applications,” he said. “A degree remains a good investment and is one of the best pathways to achieving a good job and rewarding career.”

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