EMPLOYERS are planning to recruit more graduates this year, although competition for jobs remains fierce, according to a new study.

Firms are set to take on almost a fifth more graduates in 2014, rising to more than 40 per cent in financial services, said information company Incomes Data Services.

The trend is welcome news for the growing number of candidates chasing each job, with 60 graduates per vacancy last year, up from 49 in 2011, said the report.

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Nasreem Rahman, of IDS, said: "Recruitment prospects for this year's crop of graduates look brighter than they have for a long while as the number of job opportunities is set to rise sharply.

"Some sectors, such as finance, appear to be making up for lost time, aiming to recruit several times more graduates in 2014 than they did in 2013."

But IDS found most employers froze their graduate starting salaries again last year. Two-thirds have not increased their rates for 2014.