The number of graduate jobs being advertised in the UK has fallen by more than 60% year-on-year, according to a study, with industries such as marketing and construction experiencing larger drops than other sectors.
The analysis by CV-Library, an independent job board, also found university leavers appear to be giving up on their job hunt, as searches for these roles have dropped by 8.4% year-on-year.
Alongside this, applications to graduate jobs are down by almost a third (32.8%).
Applications have, however, risen in some sectors, with the biggest increase in graduate job applications registering in catering (up 57.9%), social care (up 42.9%), IT (up 9%) and the public sector (up 5.4%).
The analysis focused on data between 1 January and 30 July 2020 and compared with the same period a year ago.
Despite jobs and applications dropping overall, the average amount of applications per job has increased by 47.2% in the past 12 months; from 16.8 in 2019, to 24.7 in 2020.
Certain industries are, however, more competitive than others.
The study shows that in recruitment, applications per job have risen to 180. A 471% change from the same period a year ago.
Despite a dearth in available jobs, the average graduate salary has risen by 7.1% from a year ago, currently sitting at £24,626 ($32,159) per annum.
Sectors paying above-average wages included the public sector (£34,000), retail (£33,550), property (£30,235), catering (£27,500), IT (£27,290), accounting/finance (£27,074), media (£26,958), legal (£26,738), design (£26,266) and sales (£26,002).
Salaries registered as highest in London, sitting at £27,259, Newcastle with £27,250, Southhampton which was £26,667, Edinburgh which was £24,857 and Manchester, £24,740.
Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone, not least the newest entrants to the job market, whose career prospects have been shattered by COVID-19.
“The government is making inroads by creating more job opportunities for young people through its Kickstarter scheme, but whether this is enough remains to be seen. Unfortunately, job numbers are down across the board and it’s going to take a very long time until they return to normal levels.”