Almost three-quarters of the 201 firms that responded to an Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) survey said they would be taking on more school-leavers in 2014/15.
This compares to 68 per cent of companies in 2013/14 and nearly 55 per cent the year before.
Apprenticeships continue to be the most popular opportunities offered to school-leavers by AGR employers. A total of 47 per cent offered Apprenticeships last year and the figure is likely to rise to more than 51 per cent this year.
The number of companies offering Higher Apprenticeship programmes is also increasing, while more than a third of the companies questioned offer work experience for school-leavers.
Over two-thirds of employers said they had established relationships with schools in order to boost recruitment, which Stephen Isherwood, CEO of the AGR, described as “a good thing”.
He continued: “It means employers are thinking more holistically about their talent strategies. It also means a greater variety of opportunities for young people.”
An employer in the accounting and professional services sector said the growth in school-leaver recruitment was due to a number of factors – “government incentives/pressure, pursuing the social mobility agenda, accessing different talent pools and cost savings to businesses” – but predicted that the trend will continue.
The increasingly competitive graduate market may also be boosting school-leaver recruitment.
Another employer added: “Growing your own, rather than paying a premium to compete and attract at the graduate level is a viable alternative.”