skip to primary navigation skip to content


September 2016

This brief note and links are intended to offer helpful information and advice from the Careers Service surrounding Brexit and implications on the graduate employment market for our current students and researchers. Our views are based on what we have heard and learnt through personal conversations and meetings with employers and studying the press, assorted surveys and reports.

Careers in academia, research and postgraduate study options

For detailed information on research opportunities and academic careers, fees, funding, migration and visa issues it is imperative you refer to the very thorough, regularly updated University-managed pages on the EU referendum. The information carried on that site is not repeated here.

Overview on graduate-level employment opportunities

At a recent meeting of our employer group, with a variety of employment sectors represented, their general view was that graduate-level opportunities for this coming year (starting Autumn 2017) are unlikely to fall. A survey by Reed of 1,700 employers revealed the majority are committed to increase their intake (across all levels of employment) this coming year. The Association of Graduate Recruiters survey presents a less optimistic forecast, with an 8% reduction. Reassuringly, here at Cambridge, all our major careers events this Michaelmas Term are fully booked and we have not seen a decline in the number of organisations posting vacancies on our vacancy and opportunities listings. Most employers, however, are more concerned about the introduction of any new stringent restrictions being applied to the free movement of people (i.e. staff and knowledge) between the UK and Europe. The Institute of Employment Studies are following this concern closely. Interestingly, several global organisations based outside the UK and Europe have commented that they now see the UK as the stable place to do business and that mainland Europe is likely to undergo further change and upheavals.

Specific employment sectors

The Prospects website provides some insight on different employment sectors: retail, law, manufacturing etc. As we receive more information on additional sectors (that tend to recruit later in the academic year, for example, charities, arts and heritage, publishing and media) we will update this note.

Discussing Brexit with recruiters

It is clear that the recruiters know little more about future prospects than already catalogued in the national press and assorted reports. If raising the issue in discussions at careers events or interviews, do check first on the organisation’s website whether any statement has been made (such as this example for PwC) – being unaware of this may harm your credibility.


If you encounter any adverse (or positive) issues attributable to the Brexit decision, for example, employment offers being withdrawn, internship opportunities cancelled, location of your employment being changed etc, do let us know.

Gordon Chesterman
Director, Careers Service