HIGH street pharmacy Boots was the biggest graduate employer in Scotland last year, according to figures which put it ahead of banks, accountancy giants and councils.

The Complete University Guide, which analyses the destinations of graduates, reveals the finance and public sectors still recruit the greatest proportion of graduates into graduate-type employment in Scotland despite the problems they have faced over the past three years.

However, it was Boots which remained at the head of the top 10 of Scottish graduate recruitment for the second year in a row, mirroring its position in the UK as a whole.

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Boots recruited 50 graduates in Scotland in 2011, and 550 in the UK as a whole.

The rest of the top 10 are dominated by local government and financial services.

Glasgow City Council, up from fifth-place in 2010 to second in 2011, recruited 45 graduates into graduate-type jobs, while four other local authorities – North Ayrshire, Edinburgh City Council, Aberdeen City Council and Fife Council –recruited a further 120 or so graduates between them.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young occupied third, fourth and fifth place respectively. RBS took on 45 graduates in 2011, PwC recruited 40 and Ernst & Young 30.

The remainder of the top 10 graduate recruiters in Scotland is made up of Morgan Stanley – up from 12th to seventh place in 2011 with close to 30 graduates recruited – and Aberdeen-based Wood Group, who also recruited almost 30 graduates.

Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author of The Complete University Guide, said: "This is the first time that the recruitment pattern of graduates has been analysed in this way.

"We believe it is a valuable facility for young people looking for graduate level employment in extremely challenging times."