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Final year students in the UK are steering well clear of jobs in banking, finance and property this year, and only one in three have got themselves a job offer.

The traditional "milkround" of pre-exam recruitment has seen job offers fall by a third. Half of students are worried that even if they were offered a graduate job, the offer could be withdrawn before they start work or they'll get laid off within a year.

Applications to the Armed Forces, public sector, teaching, charities, engineering have all increased, and one in six final year students said they had deliberately aimed for apparent job security over other factors.

More than half of those questioned described their job prospects as very limited.

For the first time, the top destination for soon-to-be graduates is teaching. But investment banking is now the ninth most popular choice - down from second place last year. There was also a growth in applications for jobs in IT - the first growth in nine years. Engineering and public sector applications were up a sixth. Half of those questioned said they'd take any job offered and a fifth said they'd already applied to employers they're not interested in.

Expected starting salaries dropped for the first time since the survey began in 1995 to an average of £22,300.

All this is made worse of course by the level of debt graduates now carry - full-fat tution fees were introduced in England in 2006. So the average debt for the 2009 graduate is £15,700 - compared to £11,600 last year.

More than half of employers have cut their targets for graduate recruitment - finance has cut 2,500 graduate positions. Accountancy firms are still looking for 20.9 per cent of the advertised positions, public sector jobs account for 13.5 per cent and the Armed Forces for 12.8 per cent - a 17 per cent increase on last year.

Full results available from High Fliers Research here.

Researchers spoke to 16,357 final year students at 30 universities. This is about a fifth of the 82,500 final year undergraduates at those institutions. Medics, dentists and veterinary students were excluded. ®

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